Melissa Marscellus is a writer and a dedicated wife and mom of two young adults, one of whom is living with severe mental illness. She is currently writing a memoir chronicling her family’s struggles navigating the broken mental health and juvenile justice systems in Colorado.
After staying at home with her son Anthony (not his real name) and daughter Mallory (not her real name) for 11 years, Melissa earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology from the University of Colorado in Denver in 2010. Following graduation, Melissa began a career in criminal justice.
In addition to her 21 years of experience as a mom, Melissa has held a variety of positions in municipal and county courts in Colorado – including Court Judicial Assistant, Court Clerk, and Administrative Assistant. Most recently, Melissa worked as an Administrative Technician for a police academy. While she found a true sense of belonging within the police department, it became clear that her children needed her more at home. Melissa considers advocating for her kids the most important job she will ever have.
At the age of 14, Melissa’s daughter, Mallory, began hearing voices and started acting out at school and at home. In 2015, Mallory was diagnosed with bipolar I disorder with psychotic features and oppositional defiant disorder. Mallory’s initial behaviors – which included skipping school, smoking pot, and running away – ultimately led to a life of homelessness, drug addiction, and incarceration.
As a result, Melissa and her family have spent countless hours with Mallory in court, residential treatment facilities, and detention facilities. They have also spent a great deal of time in family therapy and at various support groups to try to find peace and acceptance.
Through this journey, Melissa has met many other dedicated parents with similar heartbreaking stories. By telling her own story, Melissa hopes to turn her pain into something positive while shedding some light on the mental health and addiction crisis that is plaguing our youth. She would also like other parents, who may be struggling, to know that they are not alone.