The massacre at a Connecticut elementary school has stirred anew a national conversation about getting assistance to the mentally ill.
But the problem is also getting someone the needed help when they refuse it and when mental illness has such a stigma in American society.
Courts can be asked to intervene if an adult needs mental health treatment but refuses to do so voluntarily.
"This emergency application allows police to take the individual into custody and take them to a hospital. Within three days they will be evaluated," said Tim DeWeese, director of clinical services at Johnson County Mental Health Center.
Typically, someone who has threatened to harm themselves or someone else needs help. The general public can get training on recognizing mental health disorders through the Mental Illness First Aid.
"You have to learn CPR training before performing CPR on someone suffering a heart attack," said Gary Hillebrand, a prevention specialist who teachers a 12-hour mental health first aid class in Missouri. "There's anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenic, each one of them has its own unique signs and symptoms."
Hillebrand said most show mental health distress between the ages of 11 and 14. He said those who work with children especially need to be trained on recognizing the symptoms so that children can get desperately needed help early.
For more information, go to Preferred Family Healthcare, which has offices in both Missouri and Kansas. Click here.
Copyright2012 KCTV (MeredithCorp.) All rights reserved.
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