The accounts of people shared here should not dissuade individuals from getting mental health help. But, too often, experts say that for-profit, private facilities do not choose the "least restrictive appropriate setting" for therapy, as mandated by current law, and instead default to locking up people in more expensive inpatient care when it's not necessary.
You can get help without getting locked up. Do your homework, and know your rights.
We've created a RESOURCES page to help you do that. But first, our story.
News 8 Investigates
Imagine walking into a mental health facility voluntarily because you want help.
Then, the door locks behind you. You’re told you can’t leave. Stripped of your clothes, given a new bed. You have no idea when you’ll see your family again.
Now imagine you are 11 years old.
That’s how old Latoya Wilmore’s son, Mason, was when he ended up held at Millwood, a private psychiatric hospital in Arlington.
He spent a week locked up there. The facility billed his mother's insurance more than $11,000 for the stay, records show.
Millwood has denied any wrongdoing.
Latoya shared her and Mason’s story with WFAA as part of what we’re calling “Against Their Will.”
It’s a collection of stories about people who voluntarily went to psych hospitals seeking help. Yet, when they asked to go home, they claim the staff ignored state law by threatening or dissuading them from filing such requests. The patients say, in some instances, their requests were blatantly ignored.