Oct. 25, 2023 – McEwen lives in eastern Ohio along the West Virginia border and participates in the Steubenville Municipal Mental Health Court. When she was evaluated by health professionals for the program, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenic symptoms. She says she remembers feelings of anxiety and depression as a teen that were calmed by using drugs.

“I started about a month after graduating high school, and it was like a hurricane. Every drug that was around I was consuming,” said McEwen.

Over the next five years, she was “overdosing more times than I can count” and in and out of jail. Her relationship with her parents and siblings suffered because of her behavior.

“I was manipulative. I would lie to anybody. I would say whatever to get what I needed to get,” said McEwen.

She lost custody of her young son, Wyatt. She was convicted of drug possession. And soon, she was back in Steubenville Municipal Court for theft. She was referred to the mental health docket run by Judge John Mascio. He started the program in 2020 after he saw a pattern in many cases.

“More and more, we were getting people who were drug addicted but also had severe mental illness,” said Judge Mascio.