Lisa Uxa and her brother Mark McBride’s parents were both killed one morning in 1994. Under a more common set of circumstances, Lisa and Mark would channel all of their grief and hatred onto the person who killed their parents, but not in this scenario. They cannot blame the killer because the killer is their brother Matthew. As Art Holliday’s award-winning documentary “Before They Fall off the Cliff: The Ripple Effects of Schizophrenia” argues, one can only blame the illness for the damage it does on the person who suffers from it as well as what it does to the person’s loved ones.

As the documentary reveals, Matt is a victim of paranoid schizophrenia. His sister explains that although he was symptom-free during his childhood, his pubescent years would mark the beginning of his debilitating condition. Matt’s illness manifested itself in giving him the impression that outside forces were controlling him. Specifically, he believed that his parents were pulling the strings and he was a mere puppet. Matt also heard voices, one of which instructed him to kill his parents.

Lisa mentions in the documentary that the system failed her brother. Should’ve, would’ve, could’ve. The hospital should have offered Matt treatment when he requested it the second time. They would have prevented him from killing his parents. Things could have turned out very different. Indeed, but not necessarily for the better. Due to the tragedy that occurred as a result of the hospital’s decisions, the McBrides (along with the support of Missouri Senator Joe Moseley) proposed what became known as the McBride Bill. It became law in 1996, and as a result, mental health treatment is more accessible to those who need it.  

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