Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

January 31, 2014

Drawing a distinction between mental illness and violence

(Continued)

What are some of the signs?

• A person loses enjoyment in activities.

• A person focuses on death or wants to be dead.

• A person has trouble sleeping.

“A person could have an episode of high anxiety and have a panic attack, which could be similar to a heart attack with symptoms such as sweating, shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness or being light-headed,” Miller said. “These partial signs and symptoms shouldn’t be ignored and people can learn to recognize them to help someone while waiting for professionals, if need be.”

What can be done if members of the public are concerned about a person seeming to be unstable or potentially violent?

Sometimes, a person may not want to be treated, because they are an adult and are independent, Miller said.

“The best thing is to call the police and they will do a wellness check and do an assessment of an individual,” Miller said. “They have the authority for an involuntary commitment if it can be shown a person is unstable by being a danger to their own self, a danger to others or being gravely impaired and not functioning.”

Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Jim Bradberry said police follow the Indiana Code for 24-hour and 72-hour commitment to put an individual in a mental health facility.

There are application criteria to be followed for the 72-hour commitment with a written application form that has to be submitted to the individual’s physician first, then it has to be filled out by a judge, Bradberry said.

“Then we are directed to go and take them to the mental health facility,” Bradberry said. “The 24-hour commitment usually happens (or comes about) during a medical call like when a person overdoses on medication or appears suicidal. We follow and go by the forms for that (24-hour commitment).”

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

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