22 Times a Day
Most of us avoid talking about difficult topics—they can make us feel awkward, embarrassed or uncomfortable; but sometimes, talking about them is exactly what we need to do.
Mental illness and suicide are difficult topics, but avoiding them can make a bad situation worse. These difficult topics need to be talked about – and often – so we can begin to better understand them.
For people with friends or family members who are mentally ill, depressed, or in crisis, here are some resources to help determine an appropriate course of action.
- Expressed intent to harm self or others
- Intense or uncontrolled anger
- Brandishing a weapon
- Excessive drug and alcohol abuse
- Fighting or assaultive behavior
- Overt threats to kill
- Suicide attempt or threat
- Bizarre delusions or hallucinations
What to do: Call local law enforcement (911). Law enforcement will respond and obtain assistance from other community partners, like Mental Health Services.
- Irritability with other or acting out in anger
- Erratic behavior
- Expressing hopelessness or helplessness
- Serious emotional distress
- Indications of alcohol or drug use interfering with academic or social performance
- Indirect threats to self or others
- Comments about weapons
What to do: Refer the individual to the Mental Health Crisis Line (800) 555-5906 or (707) 472-2304. People can also find assistance through the 211 line; a referral center that connects people confidentially to phone services.
If you’d like to learn more, an excellent place to start is the Mendocino National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) website, www.namimendocino.org . NAMI Family Support groups meet every other Tuesday at 270 N. Pine Street in Ukiah. Call 707-485-0239 for more information.
Some of those who struggle the most, struggle because of the experiences they faced while serving in our armed forces. And sadly, some people have a hard time understanding the mental health concerns of our armed forces members – even our own Department of Veteran Affairs.
Recently, the Department of Veterans Affairs was in the news because a staffer was making fun of the difficult mental health problems suffered by our returning combat veterans. And, the news of this unforgivable behavior came while the Department of Veterans Affairs reports that a veteran’s life is lost to suicide 22 times a day.
Today, hundreds of thousands of our veterans are arriving home from war suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). And far too often, our veterans are coming home to find their spouses and children suffering as well. The good news is that help for PTSD is close by.
One organization committed to helping veterans with PTSD is Welcome Back Veterans (WBV). WBV was created to reach out and help returning veterans and their families. On their website, www.welcomebackveterans.org, people can learn more about how to help. Their goal is to transform the lives of returning veterans by providing on-going treatment to them and their families for any PTSD-related issues they may have.
Another source of help is the Veterans Crisis Line. This confidential, toll-free service connects veterans in crisis and their families and friends with responders via phone, online chat, or text. Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive critical support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The Veterans Crisis Line can be accessed on the web at http://veteranscrisisline.net .
If you are a veteran who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, you can contact the National Veterans Administration (VA) Call Center anytime—day or night—at 1-877-424-3838 (the line is also intended for veterans’ families and service providers assisting veterans).
And here in Ukiah, the VA Clinic at 630 Kings Court is an excellent resource for veterans. The staff encourages veterans returning home from military service to visit the center and enroll, even if they don’t currently need services.
As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have suggestions on how we can improve please feel free to call me. If you would like to know more about crime in your neighborhood, you can sign up for telephone, cell phone and email notifications by clicking the Nixle button on our website: www.ukiahpolice.com.