Mother Of Master Chef Josh Marks Speaks On Suicide

Posted By Urban News Hour | October 14, 2013

New details have emerged about the suicide of “MasterChef” season three hopeful Josh Marks and it turns out the “gentle giant” was struggling to cope with a new diagnosis of schizophrenia and having fame without fortune.

Family members of Marks also claim that while getting his hands on a gun was easy to do, it was much more difficult for Marks to find help for his mental illness.

An already tragic story grew even bleaker as Marks’ family spoke up about his suicide.

While  investigators knew Marks received a diagnosis for bipolar disorder, his mother, Paulette Mitchell, revealed that a more recent diagnosis may have sent her son over the edge.

It was on Thursday that an outpatient program informed him that he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia rather than bipolar disorder, and the young chef didn’t take the news very well.

“That’s not what I am, that’s not what I am,” he told his mother, according to his lawyer Lisa Butler.

“He was very distraught by this new diagnosis,” Josh’s mother said. “He was just coming to terms with having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but he just couldn’t handle this new diagnosis.”

Mitchell was so worried about her son that she decided to stay home with him instead of going to work that fateful Friday afternoon, but even her watchful eye couldn’t be on Josh 24/7.

“I only left for a couple of hours to pick up my daughter from school Friday afternoon,” she said.

When she was on her way back home, she was caught in Chicago rush-hour traffic and that’s when she received the call about her son walking around in an alley with a gun in his hand.

Immediately she rushed back to Joshua’s father’s home, which is where he was staying, and began searching through the alleys in Chicago’s South Side. But she did not reach her son in time.

“I saw Joshua laying there in the second alley that I turned down,” she said. “I screamed for help and held him. I just didn’t get to my boy on time. I didn’t get to my boy.”

While the new diagnosis certainly seemed to be a trigger for the suicide, it wasn’t the only factor according to Marks’ family.

Being on “MasterChef” gave Josh a certain level of fame, but there wasn’t any fortune that came along with it. The young home cook was still struggling financially, but this time he had all eyes on him as he tried to deal with financial woes in addition to coping with his mental illness.

“Josh had a following of fans and was put on a ‘celebrity’ type pedestal, with the expectation from others that there was money and fame; but his personal reality was that he was struggling mentally and financially,” said Josh’s stepfather Gabriel Mitchell. “I think people expect that you come away from a reality show and have it made. That’s not necessarily the case.”

To make matters worse, it seemed as if several opportunities to get Josh the help he needed had been missed.

During the scuffle with police officers back in July, Josh was placed in general prison instead of being treated for a mental disability.

At first the details of the case wouldn’t make anyone think he needed mental care, until his mother revealed some more shocking details.

“What people don’t know is that on the night Josh was arrested in July, he had just shot himself and he had called police for help from the emergency phone,” his mother said.

Josh had to be treated for a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the face.

Her son wasn’t able to get the help he needed in time, but it took little to no effort for him to snag a gun off the Chicago streets.

“We live in a country where anyone can buy a gun on the streets at will,” Butler said. “We know that Josh paid little or no money for that gun, because he just didn’t have it; he was unemployed and in treatment full time. So with no money, how did he get this gun?”

Meanwhile, Mitchell isn’t ready to let her son die in vain.

“I am not done, this is not over,” she said. “I am going to make sure that Josh’s voice and dream live on by fighting for mental health-care treatment.”

Hopefully, a high-profile case like this will be what it takes to get easier access to help for mental disorders.

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