Mental Health Triage

God never intended for us to “do life” alone or isolated, rather, He intended for us to live in Christian community. Christian community moves us beyond the self-interested isolation of private lives and challenges us to go beyond superficial social contacts that we let pass for “Christian fellowship”. The Biblical ideal of community provides us with a source of accountability and guidance, as well as a place to serve.

As you interact with your community, we have included some tips and helpful reminders so that you can be fully AWARE of what is going on around you, and, if needed how to HELP!

A – Actively Listen
Pay attention to what is being said, remembering that non-verbal
communication also “speaks” loudly! (James 1:19-22)
W – Watch for Signs and Symptoms
Confusion, long-lasting sadness, extreme mood changes, isolation, substance abuse, etc. Remember that what may be typical behavior for an adult, may be atypical for teens/children.
A – Ask Helpful Questions
Are you ok? Would you like help? How can I help? Give the speaker an opportunity to speak confidentially and without interruption. (James 1:5)
R – Resist Judgment
Monitor your thoughts. Look for the positive. Avoid stereotyping. (Romans 2:1, James 4:12, Galatians 3:28)
E – Engage Help
Remember that God gifted us differently. It’s ok for you to not know what to do, as long as you know when to reach out for help and who to ask. (Proverbs 1:5, Ecclesiastes 4:11)
Erie County Crisis Services – 716-834-3131
Brylin – 716-886-8200
Emergency services – 911
Christian Counseling Ministries – 716-632-3200*
* non-emergencies only
H – Hurt
Remember that hurts can be physical or emotional. Have they experienced any type of trauma or major transition recently? Withdrawing from family and friends is often a symptom of mental illness – so look for signs of isolation.
E – Environment (safe?)
Is the person that you’re speaking with living or staying in a safe environment? This is especially important in cases of abuse.
L – Life Changes
Change is often difficult – even if that change is a positive one (marriage, buying a house, receiving a promotion).
P – Peculiar behavior
You will need to know what is ordinary for the person you are interacting with, not what is ordinary in general (keeping in mind cultural difference). For example, someone who averages 6-7 hours of sleep suddenly starts sleeping 12-15 hours.

Mental health problems can cover a broad range of disorders, but the common characteristic is that they all affect the affected person’s personality, thought processes or social interactions.

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