Steps to take to help someone struggling with mental health troubles or showing signs of distress

Posted at 11:34 PM, May 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-07 10:39:30-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The pandemic has made life difficult for many.

"Certainly we've seen a rise in symptoms of mental health, more anxiety," Consultant Karl Shallowhorn, said.

According to Shallowhorn, as symptoms and cases increase, so does the importance of knowing how to help those living with mental health troubles.

"People need to be educated about why these things happen and in the education they can make better more informed responses," Shallowhorn said.

So how should that education start? Well, for starters, both Shallowhorn and Bob Cannata, VP of Crisis Response Services at Spectrum Health, agree that it begins with letting go of preconceived notions and starting a dialogue. By empathizing and not judging the person, it can lead to more honest conversations.

"When you open a conversation with someone they are more likely to open up to you if you do it in the right way," Shallowhorn said.

According to Cannata, he said that it is important to stress with the individual that they have your support. Cannata also hopes that there is a familiarity with where to go in case the situation becomes very serious.

"If it is really sounding like, this is way beyond me I try to support them but i just don't feel right letting them go to sleep right now, then you'll want to get an outsider involved."

Cannata says these conversations can be uncomfortable, but very important.

More resources can be found at the numbers/links below:

  • Spectrum Health website
  • 24/7 Helpline: (716) 710-5172
  • Project Hope: (716) 566-6506
  • Crisis and Re-Stabilization Emergency Services (C.A.R.E.S.): (716) 882-4357
  • Shallowhorn Consulting website
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
  • Crisis Services (local) 716-834-3131
  • Trans Lifeline 1-877-565-8860
  • Trans Lifeline Canada 1-877-330-6366