• Minnesota mom convicted of murder now helps raise mental health awareness

    By: Bob D'Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:

    Fifteen years after tossing her twins off a bridge into the Mississippi River, a Minnesota woman is using her story to raise awareness about mental illness, KARE reported.

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    Naomi Gaines was 24 when she threw her 14-month-old sons, Sincere Understanding Allah and Supreme Knowledge Allah, into the river near St. Paul on July 4, 2003, and then jumped into the water, the Star Tribune reported in 2003. Sincere drowned, and Gaines was convicted of second-degree murder and second-degree attempted murder, KARE reported.

    Gaines, now 39, served 15 years in prison and spent time at a mental health treatment center, 

    After the death of her son, Gaines was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis, bipolar and schizoaffective disorder, the television station reported.
    Now, Gaines is reaching out to help people with similar mental conditions.

    “If there is another Naomi Gaines out there, you are not alone. Mental illness is not a character flaw. It is not a weakness to ask for help. It is a strength,” Gaines told KARE. “What I wouldn't give to go back and say, 'I am not OK, and I need help.'”

    Gaines now works part-time at the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Minnesota.

    “I got the most help for my mental illness while incarcerated," Gaines told KARE. "That is when the prevention classes, groups, therapy and medication happened, after it was already too late for my son."

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