MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Finding a glimmer of hope amongst tragedy. After a schizophrenic man was shot and killed by Milwaukee Police, advocates for those with mental illness are speaking up hoping to bring light to an ongoing problem.
A local mother says the recent downtown shooting brings up painful memories, and she's hoping similar situations can be prevented in the future.
"I'm just sorry for that family," said LuAnn Will, mother of son with mental illness.
LuAnn empathized with Dontre Hamilton's loved ones.
"I cried for that family because I know exactly how they feel, the person is sick and the system fails you and you do what you can for them," said Will.
31-year-old Hamilton was shot by Milwaukee Police in Red Arrow Park. Similarly, authorities opened fire on Will's son back in April after police say he threatened to kill her and harm himself, and he brandished a gun. Will survived, but in both of these cases, the suspects were mentally ill.
"They don't know what they are doing, they are not medicated, they are just out there, something has to be done," said Will.
Sue McKenzie with Rodgers InHealth aims to dispel the myths associated with mental illness.
"People that are living with a mental illness are much more likely to be victims of crime rather than perpetrate crime," said McKenzie.
McKenzie is part of the new coalition WISE, which works to eliminate the stigma. Instead of fear, the key for everyone's sake is to understand the person with mental illness.
"We need people to understand the hope of recovery and what we know works is sharing those stories of people who have faced really tough challenges and found unique paths to successful lives," said McKenzie.
McKenzie says it'll be a long time for us to get any real answers or solutions, but she hopes this can bring about some awareness and keep this in the forefront of people's minds.
We invite you to check out Mental Health America of Wisconsin. The website has an interactive Wisconsin map that allows you to select the county in which you live -- and see what mental health resources are available. CLICK HERE to check it out.