Central Oregon Daily▶️ ‘Talk to them:’ How to help those experiencing mental health crises

▶️ ‘Talk to them:’ How to help those experiencing mental health crises

▶️ ‘Talk to them:’ How to help those experiencing mental health crises

▶️ ‘Talk to them:’ How to help those experiencing mental health crises

As disturbing details emerge in the case of a Portland man suspected of plotting a violent attack at Smith Rock, and in light of the mass shooting in Maine, mental health is once again at the forefront of national discussion. 

Deschutes County Stabilization Center Program Manager Adam Goggins says resources to treat mental illness are always in high demand. 

“You never know when someone’s limit is, or you never know when someone is really at a place where they can’t take it anymore. So being able to have those services available to them in the moment is an enormously high priority for us,” Goggins said.

Goggins says most people experiencing a mental health crisis will exhibit signs that they are in need of help.

“Are individuals acting differently than what they normally do? Maybe they’re starting to isolate a little bit more. Maybe they’re starting to show signs of starting to talk a little bit more or getting into some really weird things, or post some really weird things on facebook,” Goggins said.

RELATED: Smith Rock shooting plot suspect makes first court appearance

RELATED: Court documents reveal Smith Rock attack suspect’s mindset, police response

Samson Garner, the suspect in the Smith Rock case, allegedly sent alarming and violent messages to a friend and an ex-girlfriend. The friend reportedly told police that he had known Garner for about six years and that text messages he received from Garner were “out of character and alarming.” 

Goggins says trying to understand those who want to commit violence can go a long way toward getting them help.

“Anger, frustration, resentment. Those are driving factors a lot of times behind violence,” Goggins said. “Really, trying to talk to them and understand ‘What’s making you so angry? What’s making you so resentful?’ Helping to understand those things can really hope to diffuse the anger and cause it to be in place where it’s something that we’re able to support the individual and help them move through it.”

Goggins encourages people to check in on those who they believe are experiencing crises.

“Don’t be afraid to ask the questions,” Goggins said. “To have someone reach out to them and say ‘Hey, in a non-judgmental way, I’m really worried about you. I care about you and I want to see you be OK. Are you thinking about suicide? Are you thinking about hurting yourself or someone else?’ That sends an invitation to say ‘It’s OK to talk about this.’”

If you need help, the Stabilization Center is open 24/7, and allows walk-ins for those experiencing a mental health crisis. You can call or text the free and confidential the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988.

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