Mother of courthouse arson suspect shares struggles with mental health system

Local

HANOVER, Pa. (WHTM) — The mother of a man accused of throwing a Molotov cocktail at the Adams County Courthouse is talking about her frustrations in getting her son the help he needs.

Loretta Yohe says her son Samson Yohe, 27, has had mental health issues all his life, and she’s tried to no avail to get him long-term help.

“I don’t have the answers, there are no answers for me,” Loretta Yohe said. “Whose job does it become when he’s to the level that he needs to have care forced on him?”

Her son faces charges of arson and weapons of mass destruction after he was caught on surveillance cameras near the courthouse Dec. 22nd.

He suffers from Aspergers and has anger issues. Loretta Yohe said she has tried for years to get him help.

“I have hit a lot of roadblocks,” she said. “After 21 years old, they do not give them the type of help that they receive as children. They are easier to get help for and get wrap-around services for when they’re children. Once they become an adult and become on their own, they basically kick them to the curb with very little counseling.”

The help is always temporary, she says. After her son would reach a certain level of functionality, services stopped.

“They feel that he can function on his own, which he cannot, that’s not the truth,” Loretta Yohe said.

She’s researched dozens of programs. Some are a fit, while others say Samson isn’t low-functioning enough.

“He’s considered an adult and can make decisions for himself but he still can’t function as an adult and be social,” she said. “He can’t deal with certain feelings. He still throws temper tantrums like a child.”

The roadblocks Yohe faces are the very things Gov. Tom Wolf’s recently-announced “Reach Out PA: Your Mental Health Matters” campaign aims to remove.

“This is a new multi-agency initiative that will target barriers that keep Pennsylvanians from having full access to mental health care. I want every Pennsylvanian to feel comfortable reaching out to someone if they’re struggling,” Wolf said.

It’s a start, but Loretta Yohe wants more long-term care facilities for patients like her son, and for the system to work with patients into adulthood.

“So that they can succeed and not just let them go when they think that they’ve received the help that they need,” she said.

She welcomes any help or advice for new programs that may help her son. You can reach out to us at ABC27 for her contact information.

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