Kristoff St. John and his ex-wife, Mia, are still mourning the tragic loss of their son, Julian.
It’s been nearly three years since Julian was found dead at age 24 in his room at a mental health care facility in Long Beach, California, after suffering from schizophrenia for years. His death was reported as suicide.
Shortly after, Kristoff and Mia filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the La Casa Psychiatric Health Facility, alleging that nurses and staff members regularly skipped mandatory check-ins and observations of Julian, who was supposed to be on suicide watch and checked on every 15 minutes. The St. Johns alleged that on the day that their son died, surveillance footage showed nobody had checked on him for over an hour before they found him with a bag over his head in the bathroom. They claimed nurses and staff doctored documents to cover up the neglect. The facility denied all allegations at the time.
The lawsuit was settled out of court last month and all funds were used to set up a foundation in Julian’s name to raise mental health awareness. Now, Kristoff and Mia are opening up to ET.
“I’m still angry,” Kristoff tells ET’s Kevin Frazier, when asked what it was like watching the footage that captured Julian’s final moments in the facility. “I watched it the first time, I’ll never watch it again. It’s not something I want to see.”
“I watched that video and I saw my son talking to me on the phone and he hung up the payphone and he went into his room and they didn’t check on him,” Mia notes. “Time went by and I couldn’t help but think my son was dying at that moment.”
Kristoff continued on, saying he believes the corporation will “do business differently now.”
“Well, we know that they have already taken out the plastic bags and a lot of mental health facilities have taken over that policy since my son’s death,” Mia added. “I will fight for the rest of my life until something is done. Because there are other kids that are left in these facilities that have no voice and no one to speak out for them.”
The St. Johns also spoke to ET back in 2015, where they revealed what it was like receiving that tragic call from the mental health hospital.
“That call was the worst call I’ve ever had in my life,” Kristoff said. “I knew that Julian had died.”
Kristoff noted that he sees the opportunities to speak with ET as a way for himself and Mia to discuss their commitment to advocating for reform of mental health facilities and their parent companies.
“We do not want to lose any more mentally ill patients who are not receiving the proper care from their caregivers,” they explained.
If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
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