How to get treatment for someone with mental health, substance abuse problems

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- A neighbor to the California gunman’s mom says the mother lived in fear of what her son might do. The 28-year-old refused help before he opened fire inside a bar and killed 12 people.

We sat down with an employee at Triad Behavioral Resources and New Vison Therapy to find out what parents like her can do to help someone in need.

The project manager, Erinn Oakley, said there are three ways people can go about receiving treatment - voluntarily, if they want to seek treatment; with some type of leverage, like if it’s part of their parole; and involuntarily, when they refuse to get help.

“If they believe their family member or loved one will not go to treatment, they could call their magistrate and talk to them,” Oakley said.” Go to their county magistrate and let them know what their symptoms are, what's going on to see if they qualify for involuntary commitment.”

Oakley says involuntary commitment should be a last-resort option.

“There needs to be an imminent danger to somebody,” Oakley said.

She says if you know someone in need, you should try talking to them with a sympathetic approach.

“A good way to go about it is to say, ‘I noticed you've kind of been off. Is everything alright?’” Oakley said. “No one says, ‘I'm really struggling,’ because that makes you look weak. I think if people start having those conversations then they could get the help that they need and some of these situations can be avoided.”

She says at any given time the Triad Behavioral Resources & New Vision Therapy location in Greensboro sees around 200 patients.

Some are dealing with mental health concerns. Many others have substance abuse problems that are often connected to other underlying issues like depression or anxiety.

“We get a lot phone calls about parents concerned about their kids,” Oakley said.

Her office does not serve patients who are involuntarily committed but she has directed people on how they can go about getting help even if their loved one refuses it.

If you or someone you know has mental health concerns or is struggling with substance abuse, you can call Triad Behavioral Resources for a confidential assessment at (336) 389-1413.