Mental Illness - How & When To Seek Help (Part 3) - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Mental Illness - How & When To Seek Help (Part 3)

WMDT 47 NEWS - Mental Illness can be a very sensitive subject. And trying to get a loved one, a friend, or a co-worker help might be an uncomfortable situation. We all have, at one time or another, had a feeling that something might be wrong about a friend, a family member, or a co-worker. Often, we bury those intuitions saying "it's none of our business", or that we don't want to get anyone in trouble.
     
But as we've seen in the numerous cases of mass shootings over the last decade, ignored instincts may have gotten people killed. "And we will have another one," states clinical psychologist, Dr. Kathryn Seifert, "We will have another one if we don't start acting now, to start changing the ways that we do things."
     
Through your local health department, you can find an expert with which you can discuss your concerns. And if you have reason to believe your family member could one day resort to violence, you can address that proactively with law enforcement.

"Well, it would be great to know this individual's mental record, who his physicians are, what he's being treated for, what are the medications he's under the influence of," details Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis. "All of this would help us out tremendously in the event we responded to that home...to that business."
     
And if an emergency mental health evaluation might seem like a good idea, you are well within your right to take your loved one to the hospital, at any time. Aside from immediate family members, physicians and officers can also order an evaluation, in those rare situations where law enforcement does have to step in.
     
"Most importantly, we make a determination at the scene," explains Lewis, "are they a threat or a harm to themselves or innocent people. Oftentimes they have to go in handcuffs because they do not go voluntarily." Once someone is transported to the hospital for evaluation, then it's in the hands of medical personnel who decide whether to hold the individual for observation or release them back to family members.
     
"Mental illness isn't something that is a precursor to somebody being violent," stresses Heather Brown, Director of Addictions & Wicomico/Somerset Core Services Agency. "We just want to keep reinforcing that people do get better. They just need to have the resources and support to be able to do that."

In the aftermath of Sandy Hook, there are also many questions about how we can address safety and Mental Health in schools. In part four of this special report, we speak with school officials about what students, parents, and staff can do to help prevent violence on the Shore.

Mental Illness & Guns - Making Changes (Part 6)

WMDT 47 NEWS - Wicomico County Sheriff, Mike Lewis, admits he and his deputies handle mental illness cases quite often.

Mental Illness - Safety In Colleges & Universities (Part 5)

WMDT 47 NEWS - Local colleges and universities are closely following the debate over gun control and mental health.

Mental Illness And Schools (Part 4)

WMDT 47 NEWS - February 14th marks two months since the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. And now, there are a number of proposals on the table, both locally and nationally, on how to prevent this type of mass violence.

Mental Illness - Know The Warning Signs (Part 2)

WMDT 47 NEWS - In Part 1 of WMDT's Special Report on Mental Illness, we heard from mental health experts and the Wicomico County Sheriff about the need to be more open about the topic of Mental Health.

Mental Illness - Moving Past The Stigma (Part 1)

WMDT 47 NEWS - The recent mass shootings across our nation spurred a national debate over gun control. But many Americans, law enforcement officials, and mental health professionals are calling for attention to another issue at the heart of the recent violence...Mental Illness.

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