Where to turn when someone seems troubled

Where to turn when someone seems troubled

This month’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida, has raised questions about how the suspect may have shown “red flags” but still managed to pull off one of the worst mass tragedies in the nation’s history. In the aftermath, some people may be reflecting on what they would do if confronted by a similar situation.

Where would you turn if someone you knew was having trouble or seemed to be losing touch with reality?

“In medicine, losing touch with reality is considered a very serious problem with potentially life-threatening implications,” says SSM Health Dean Medical Group psychiatrist Dr. Sean Ackerman. “It’s vital to get that person help as soon as possible.”

But who do you call? Ackerman says at the very least, if you are a family member, call their doctor immediately. Primary Care physicians can either help the situation themselves, or offer insight on the next steps to take.

Sometimes, time is more of a factor. Whenever you are truly concerned about your safety or the safety of someone else, it’s recommended you call 911.

There are questions in other parts of the country about whether police officers are the right people to respond to mental health crises. But using the Madison Police Department as an example, it says all officers are trained and capable of navigating mental health calls.

Police aren’t the only resource, either. You can consider going to the nearest Emergency Department, or try one of these other options:

National Crisis Lifeline: 800-273-8255
Journey Mental Health (Dane County) emergency line: 608-280-2600
Mental Health America: Text 741741
Rock County Crisis Intervention: 608-757-5025
Sauk County 24-hour Crisis Line: 800-533-5692

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