A mentally-ill Vietnamese mother was severely criticized after she was filmed feeding her two-year-old son food leftovers she plucked from bins on the streets of Changhua County, Taiwan.

The video went viral, prompting the woman’s husband, surnamed Hsu, to come forward. In his fifties, Hsu told Taiwan Apple Daily that their family of five children had been in serious need of government assistance ever since his wife was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2014. He said that lately her condition has been getting worse.

Hsu, who was previously a street hawker but is now jobless, married his wife more than 10 years ago. The couple have given birth to six children, one of whom they sent away due to their poverty.

In 2014, while the woman was pregnant with the third child, she started to show symptoms of schizophrenia, which was able to be controlled using medication.

Since then, her habit of collecting and hoarding recyclables and other items had become a problem. In recent months, she began picking food leftovers from bins on the streets.

The husband was distraught as he could no longer get through to his wife. All he could do was secretly throw away what she brought home.

A spokesperson for the Department of Social Affairs of the Changhua County Government said the Hsu family was a medium-to-high-risk family due to the fact that Mr Hsu’s sick wife had failed to consistently attended medical appointments.

Social workers would continue to provide counselling to the family and to evaluate their child custody arrangements.