Recognize when it’s time to seek help for mental health issues

DENVER -- After the terrible deaths of two children in Colorado Springs, many people are talking about the subject of mental health.

Many Coloradans have family members who struggle with mental health problems, but how do you know when it’s time to take action?

Dr. Sheryl Ziegler, a psychologist at The Child and Family Therapy Center at Lowry, has some guidelines.

She said if a person says they want to kill themselves or anyone else, that is an immediate call to 911, a therapist or the emergency room.

A therapist or officer has the ability to request an emergency 72-hour hold.

Ziegler said there are other things to look for.

“It can range anywhere from aggression to animals, thoughts of homicide and suicide that they are expressing, a lack of touch with reality is really a big one, so are they really coherent? Do they really seem to know what’s going on? Are they still engaged in their normal activity of daily living, or have they stopped working or going to school and shut down?” Ziegler said.

But many times the decision is not as obvious. Ziegler said parents should look for a cluster of symptoms such as a change in diet, sleep, behavior or mood.

Is there a hypersensitivity to light or sound? Are they overly suspicious or paranoid? Are they staying up for days at a time? She says if your loved one has three or more of these symptoms, you should get them help.

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