(WKBN) — Raising awareness for mental health is a big talking point after the shooting incident in Lowellville on Thursday.
Oftentimes, these are very hard conversations to have, and that’s why we’ve brought in an expert from the Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery Board to go in-depth about what we should be looking for.
Executive Director Duane Piccirelli talked about signs to look for with anxiety and mental health issues.
“If somebody changes their personality — they start withdrawing, things that they used to enjoy they don’t seem to enjoy anymore, spending more time with themselves — just a change in attitude. It’s not just something one day because we all have periods where we’re down, but if over a series of a few days you see a change in personality, especially in young people, you need to reach out to them,” said Piccirelli.
We always talk about how important it is for parents to really look for these warning signs because you’re the first line of defense to kind of see what’s going on with your child.
“I think we need to ask our children questions. You know, ask them how school was today. They never want to answer you, but you just sort of, you know, push the situation…It’s okay to sit down with them and say, ‘Is there something wrong? Is there something going on?’ and have a talk with them and don’t be afraid to say, ‘Yes. Are you, you know, are you sad or are you depressed?’ If you really think somebody is that serious, you can say, ‘Have you ever thought about hurting yourself and have you ever thought about taking your life?’ I know these are hard questions to ask, but just put yourself in the situation. If you’re that depressed and you’re that sad, it’s hard to say those words. But if somebody asked you, it’s easier to say yes, and so that’s what’s so important to reach out, have the conversation,” said Piccirelli.
Often times that’s really when the floodgates seem to open for children.
“Be there for them, but if you think somebody is at risk of taking their life, you don’t have to take them to the hospital, but do not leave them alone. Do not leave them alone and take any means away from them that they could hurt themselves. The most important thing you can tell somebody is, ‘You’re not alone.’ You know, if a young person or any of us witness an awful situation or an event, a tragic event, you need to talk about it. So when an individual goes home, sit them down and talk to them. It’s, ‘You’re safe now.’ They’re in a safe place. But just remember, when you’re home, there’s a constant connection to the internet. So everyone’s going to be, you know, checking and looking at things and chatting. So it’s important. What are your children looking at on the Internet? But children, adults, wherever, if you experience a situation, you to talk about it. Do not keep it in. Nothing good will come if you keep it in because you’ll have issues later if you don’t deal with it right now,” said Piccirelli.
You can see a list of all mental health board resources here. Call 330-747-2696 or text 4HOPE (741741) to speak with the crisis hotline.