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Expert weighs in on when and how to intervene when someone is struggling with mental health

KOLD News 5-5:30 p.m. recurring
Published: May. 20, 2022 at 7:50 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - “If you see something, say something.” It’s something people are taught from a young age to report something that doesn’t look or seem right.

But, what exactly should you be looking for? And, when is it okay to intervene?

Dr. Amy Munoz, vice president for utilization management with CODAC, says there’s always ways to help.

“I think the telltale signs of somebody experiencing a mental health crisis they might not be responsive, they might be significantly agitated, they might be looking around pretty frequently. They might be in what we call fight or flight mode,” she said.

She said if you see somebody out in public make yourself an ally and if it’s safe to do so ask if you can help.

“If it’s somebody who is not a threat to themselves or others imminently you can call the crisis mobile team. The community crisis line can actually dispatch them out,” Munoz said.

However, if you do feel like there’s a threat, call the police department to ensure everyone’s safety.

She also said if you do know someone, there’s an advantage to that.

“You are privy to their patterns. You know how they act, how they speak. So, if there are changes in general or they aren’t returning calls quickly or not showing up for things. Or if there is a level of withdrawal or isolation. You can tell when something is array,” she said.

The Tucson Police Department also has the goal of helping people seek out treatment for their mental health. It’s all part of their mental health support team.

The team aims at reducing the number of incarcerated people with mental illness and addiction by acting as an entry point into mental health and substance use treatment. It also helps to prevent incidents through early intervention and speedy and thorough follow-up.

Munoz said the team tries to be discreet saying, “they show up without a uniform so it’s less intimidating than someone walking up with a gun or something that might be jarring for somebody who is experiencing a crisis.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, you can visit CODAC’s Crisis Support at https://www.codac.org.

You can also reach out to the community-wide Crisis Line (520) 622-6000. It’s a free 24-hour crisis line for individuals experiencing severe emotional distress, mental illness or substance use.

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