SUMNER COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — A frustrated wife shared her story with News 2 in hopes of bringing awareness to the challenges she’s faced trying to get her husband — who is currently being held at the Sumner County Jail — the mental health assistance he reportedly needs.

This story provides a glimpse into the challenge facing the justice system across the county, with health experts saying it’s often a vicious cycle of long waitlists, self-medicating, and reoffending.

Cecelia Bottoms didn’t mince words when speaking about her 38-year-old husband, Joshua Bottoms, who was arrested after he allegedly stole a vehicle from a woman at knifepoint and led authorities on a three-hour chase in and out of Sumner and Davidson counties in late October.

“I called for help because he was snapping, he was breaking, and nobody would listen to me,” Cecelia said.

Joshua, whose criminal record dates back to 2003, was out on probation at the time of his most recent arrest. Medical documents show he was admitted to a local hospital two weeks before the latest incident and was diagnosed with psychosis.

Cecelia was sent an email with phone numbers to call for further treatment and a message that read “Good Luck”, which she described as callous. Though Cecelia did call multiple times, she said nobody ever responded.

“I didn’t know what else to do,” she said.

Nathan Miller, who’s never treated Joshua, has worked in behavioral health for 25 years. According to him, this story is more common than you might think.

“The need, of course, is overwhelming at this point,” he explained. “Staffing is always disproportionate.”

“You do, a lot of times, end up having a waiting list, especially with inpatient centers, inpatient beds for hospitals, substance abuse treatment centers,” Miller added.

In addition, self-medicating often kicks in.

“They try to deal with it in a way that is not necessarily conducive to better health, so then we have the substance abuse issue on top of a mental health issue, which is co-occurring, which leads to more interaction with police, more jail time,” Miller said.

Cecelia, feeling failed and hopeless, cried as she asked, “What do I do? What does his son do?”

She acknowledged that without the proper treatment, the cycle will continue.

“They just throw them the key, throw them away, and then expect them to be okay and then send them out to the world again,” Cecelia said, adding that her husband needs help.

News 2 reached out to Joshua’s court-appointed attorney to ask if a psychiatric evaluation would be requested. We have yet to hear back.