What do you do if your child shows signs of mental illness?
The issue of mental health is being hotly debated because of the school shootings in Connecticut last week. Connecticut school shooter Adam Lanza reportedly snapped because he was afraid of being committed.
What do you do if it’s your child that is showing signs of having a mental illness? How do you handle it? Houston area therapist Mary Jo Rapini tells KTRH the worst thing you can do is wait until something tragic happens.
“The biggest problem with all mental illness is ignoring it,” Rapini said. “If you ignore something like mental illness, it’s never going to go away. Most likely, it’s going to worsen.
Rapini says the worst thing you can do as a parent is deny to yourself that there is an issue with your child.
“If you really love your child you are going to protect them. But you are also going to be open and honest when your child is struggling with an issue that your love and protection alone cannot cure,” Rapini explained.
But getting help isn't necessarily easy. Attorney George Parnham, who represented Clear Lake child killer Andrea Yates, told KTRH there are steps that have to be followed.
“You can have an involuntary commitment, but the individual needs to be able to express a homicidal or suicidal ideation,” Parnham said.
Unfortunately, Parnham says, people often wait until a crime is committed before seeking help.
“It’s ironic that one has to commit an offense in order to get the best mental health care in the state, and that is in the criminal justice system,” Parnham stated.
Hear the podcast with Matt Patrick and Houston's Morning News as he talks with Rapini: