Viral video sheds light on Cape Coral man’s mental health disorder

One Cape Coral mom is shining the light on her son with mental health issues. Due to her son’s disorder, his actions are often misinterpreted. Now, she is making a plea to the community for more patience and understanding.

Just off busy Del Prado Blvd. is James Hendersons’ happy place.

At the age of 17, a doctor diagnosed James with a complex form of schizophrenia. His mom, Tricia Henderson, said she hears and sees comments made by people under their breath about her son.

Schizophrenia, a chronic and severe mental disorder, affects how a person thinks, feels and behaves. It affects more than 21 million people worldwide. Many people have a negative stigma of those with this mental health disorder.

But, at the Cape Coral McDonald’s, employees treat James without reservation. When someone posted a viral video of him online, his mom felt like she was kicked in the stomach.

The man who posted the video, who did not want to be identified, said James’ behavior gave him concern. Tricia Henderson said she cried when she first saw the video.

“I wish the person instead of posting it,” Tricia said, “had called someone if they thought my son needed help.”

It is sentiment counselors echo, including Alise Bartley, who works at Florida Gulf Coast University.

“It’s really important that you understand this could really negatively impact who they are and how they’re focusing in on their wellness and their recovery,” Bartley said.

The man told WINK News he meant no ill will and wished the family the best. Tricia plans to reach out to him herself to thank him for the attention the post brought to mental health stigmas.

However, Tricia hopes the next time, instead of videotaping her son, others will look a little deeper and show more compassion.

“People don’t understand what he’s going through,” Tricia said. When James paces, he is actually performing. “My son is music,” she added. “He hears it even if he’s not listening to it. So when he’s pacing, he’s hearing music.”

Reporter:Sydney Persing
Writer:Michael Mora
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