Help is available for families of mentally ill individuals - FOX 32 News Chicago

Help is available for families of mentally ill individuals

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By Ryan Ermanni
Fox 2 News


HOLLY, Mich. (WJBK) -- "I Am Adam Lanza's Mother" was a blog that has gone viral over the past few days written by a mother that lives in fear of her emotionally disturbed child.  It's sparked a nationwide conversation about what to do if that is you.  There is help.

Rose Hill in Holly is a residential psychiatric treatment facility.  Ben Robinson is the president and CEO.  He offered this advice.

"For individuals in that situation, they may need to reach out to mental healthcare givers themselves to understand the dynamics of what's going on.  They need to protect themselves and their family, through the appropriate law enforcement agencies if necessary," he said.

"We've had many situations here at Rose Hill where that happens," said Vice President of Programs Cheryl Leclear Wallace.  "Mental illness can trigger symptoms that can be fearful for families, so getting the help that somebody needs so that they can internalize that, understand that, and we can work together to rebuild the bridges."

One of the most important things to note if you are in a similar situation is you are not alone.

"There are support groups out there of other family members such as the NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Illness, that has local organizations that help family members that have been through this to get peer support, if you will," Robinson said.

Meanwhile, do to patient privacy issues, it can make things extremely difficult for a family member who is trying to help.

"If it's very severe, if something is going on that you really need to intervene on, you can look at guardianship for that person.  If they're unable to take care of themselves and they need to have that service, then probate court is where you would start for getting a guardianship," Wallace said.

"Mostly it's going to be in relationship to that individual.  If the individual is really incapacitated, there's always the opportunity, as I mentioned, of pursuing guardianship through the probate court system and the courts will determine whether that's necessary.  Then the family member would have where they would be giving consent to care," said Robinson.

If you would like more information about Rose Hill, visit www.rosehillcenter.org.

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