Mental Illness & Family Safety Nets
2023-03-28 | Author: Chief Robert Spinks
You can call the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline crisis line (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) which provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, across the United States. The Lifeline is comprised of a national network of over 200 local crisis centers, combining custom local care and resources with national standards and best practices.
Anyone can experience mental health problems. Friends and family can make all the difference in a person's recovery process.
Supporting a Friend or Family Member with Mental Health Problems
Talking to friends and family about mental health problems can be an opportunity to provide information, support, and guidance. Learning about mental health issues can lead to:
* Improved recognition of early signs of mental health problems
* Earlier treatment
* Greater understanding and compassion
If a friend or family member is showing signs of a mental health problem or reaching out to you for help, offer support by:
* Finding out if the person is getting the care that he or she needs and wants-if not, connect him or her to help. Labette Health can be contacted at 620-421-3770 or visit them at 1730 Belmont in Parsons, KS.
* Expressing your concern and support
* Reminding your friend or family member that help is available and that mental health problems can be treated
* Asking questions, listening to ideas, and being responsive when the topic of mental health problems come up
* Reassuring your friend or family member that you care about him or her
* Offering to help your friend or family member with everyday tasks
* Including your friend or family member in your plans-continue to invite him or her without being overbearing, even if your friend or family member resists your invitations.
GET HELP FOR YOUR FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER
Seek immediate assistance if you think your friend or family member is in danger of harming themselves. You can call a crisis line at 988.
In patient mental health care in Kansas is limited. The police become involved when an individual is a danger to themselves or others. Or when there is a crime.
Family members are encouraged to take responsibility in providing a safety net and support for loved ones suffering from a mental health problem.
Removing firearms and weapons from being accessed by individuals with mental health problems is a common sense step. Firearms can become a means of suicide or can be turned on others.
The Future for mental health crisis calls should not be dumped on the police alone. Parsons Police responds to up to 400 crisis calls annually. Most are successfully de-escalated, others result in a mental health commitment, some require a criminal arrest and in some circumstances the police will not have legal authority to take a person into custody.
Isn't it time for Parsons and a community to provide resources to people increase that doesn't include an armed police officer as the primary if not the only responder? Parsons PD and the policing professional thing it's long overdue.
Most of these crisis calls are health care incidents that require mental health professionals. The fire service which has excess capacity to respond and are already trained as EMT's can be a source to build a multidisciplinary response with mental health providers to better serve our community.