3. Reach out to those who have mental illness or live on the fringes.
Adam Lanza’s high school provided a supportive environment for him while he was in high school. After graduation, he lost that support and became more isolated and reclusive. In isloation, people lose sight of reality. We need to reach out to those who are suffering from mental illness building a bridge to them so they don’t drown in depression and isolation. From desperation, come desperate actions. The odds are that you know someone like Adam in your family or neighborhood. What would happen if you reached out to that person, developed a relationship with them and invested in their life?
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Here are a few ways to reach out to those in need.
a. Intentionally talk to quiet people on the fringes, and ask them to tell their story. Don’t judge them, or try and fix their problem, do offer to be their friend and a person they can trust to help.
b. Ask for professional help if needed. You can call and get assistance from a professional on how to talk to those who are mentally ill.
c. If a parent is struggling with raising a child (lots of school and home issues) offer to let them talk with you about their struggles. Be supportive and encouraging to the parent, don’t judge them.
d. Notice and say something when you see “signs of distress” from someone. Usually they leave lots of clues, as a “call for help”.
The reality of children with mental illness is profound. Parents are desperate for help and feel isolated and stigmatized by those who judge them. I can’t tell you how many stories like this I have heard in the community in which I live and others. Parents and families living with mental illness need a community of support and assistance to prevent tragedies from happening.
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