NewsPhoenix Metro NewsCentral Phoenix News


Valley family shares struggle with schizophrenia in hopes of helping others

Posted at 6:42 PM, Dec 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-06 20:42:30-05

A Valley mother and her son are raising awareness on mental health and the struggles that come with having schizophrenia.

This comes after an incident over the weekend when a man jumped off a plane at Sky Harbor.

That man’s family says he was also struggling with schizophrenia.

While this story made national headlines, it really hit home for at least one local family.

Dominic Budetti says, three years ago, he experienced his first major schizophrenic episode while driving home from Northern Arizona University.

That’s when he called his mom, Elizabeth Arango.

“It took a second of clarity to make that phone call, and that second of clarity may or may not have saved my life,” said Budetti.

His mom tells ABC15 she feels blessed to have him and thankful that Budetti is still alive.

“Just the thought of what he was saying that he was afraid he would drive off the mountain, things like that… a parent’s worst fear,” added Arango.

“What I was thinking was that I wasn’t like necessarily worthy to live in this life. I was hearing voices all over,” Budetti told ABC15.

This all came as a surprise to Arango, adding her son was his high school class president and got a full ride to NAU.

“It was during his time up there that things just started changing,” said Budetti’s mom.

After that episode, Budetti's family got him help.

He was evaluated, diagnosed with schizophrenia, and put on medication.

“It is a struggle. It’s just different when it hits home. When it’s your own children,” Arango told ABC15.

“You don’t really know what’s real necessarily versus what’s fake,” added Budetti.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, symptoms of schizophrenia usually first show up in early adulthood.

For men that can be in their late teens, while for women it’s usually their 20s and early 30s.

Budetti is now 24 years old.

If you or a loved one need help, crisis services are available 24/7 in the Valley.

Solari Crisis & Human Services is one of them.

Matthew Moody, the Director of the Contact Center of Operations, says Solari is the largest crisis line per volume in the country.

“We typically take 25,000 calls per month for central and northern Arizona. We dispatch about 3,000 different types of mobile teams, and we also run programs such as 2-1-1 Arizona which is health and human resources that are available 24/7,” Moody told ABC15.

“We cannot imagine what it’s like in their mind and what they go through, and we have to be empathetic,” said Arango.

“It’s very present in our society. It’s very real, and just because you don't understand it, doesn't mean it doesn’t exist,” Budetti told ABC15.

Here is a list of resources you can use if you, or someone you know, is having a mental health crisis:

Crisis/Suicide Hotlines

Maricopa County:

1-800-631-1314 or 602-222-9444

Southern Arizona: (Cochise, Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz and Yuma Counties)


Northern Arizona: (Apache, Coconino, Gila, Mohave, Navajo and Yavapai Counties)


24-Hour Crisis Hotlines - National

  • ​​​​​1-800-SUICIDE - HopeLine Suicide Hotline
  • 1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-273-8255 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Non-Crisis Warm Lines

602-347-1100 (Maricopa County)

520-770-9909 (Pima County)

1-888-404-5530 (Arizona Warm Line)

Suicide/Crisis Hotlines by County

  • 1-800-631-1314 and 602-222-9444 (Maricopa County)
  • 1-800-796-6762 or 520-622-6000 (Pima County)
  • 1-866-495-6735 (Graham, Greenlee, Cochise, and Santa Cruz Counties)
  • 1-800-259-3449 (Gila River and Ak-Chin Indian Communities)
  • 1-866-495-6735 (Yuma, La Paz, Pinal, and Gila Countries)
  • 1-877-756-4090 (Mohave, Coconino, Apache, Navajo, and Yavapai Counties)