The Indicators of a Need for Mental Healthcare

By: Chris Buckley & Staff
By: Chris Buckley & Staff

RENO, Nev. -- It is important to recognize the signs of a person in need of professional mental healthcare. Psychotherapist Tom Lavin, a Marriage and Family Therapist and a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor, says there are things you can look for if you think someone may be a threat to themselves or others.

Lavin says there are number of red flags, including, "If someone is agitated, doing a lot of pacing, if there's ragefulness, also sometimes if there is social isolation or someone is very withdrawn, or if someone is turning to alcohol or drugs, if they are saying threatening words towards someone or they are saying that they might harm themselves."

Lavin emphasizes it is okay to ask for help. "A lot of the time there's a stigma associated with asking for help... We tell people please don't listen to that voice that says we should be ashamed of ourselves for asking for help."

Mental healthcare professionals have a duty to report those they deem a danger to themselves or others.

In the State of Nevada, Lavin points out, someone who is a danger to him- or herself or others can be committed. "They'll be assessed by a mental health professional and if they're deemed to truly be a danger to themselves or others, they'll be placed in a safe environment... they will be held until they're deemed to be okay to actually leave the hospital and be on their own."

At this point, a treatment plan usually follows. "They may be referred to a mental hospital, an intensive outpatient program, a psychotherapist, a psychiatrist, a social worker, a whole program of services that might help them get their life back in order," Lavin explains. "[For] people that receive a treatment plan... generally that lays a strong, solid foundation for the rest of their lives."

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