What to know when interacting with someone who is mentally ill

What you should know when interacting with someone who is mentally ill

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - The search continues for 25-yr-old Darius Taylor of Hinds County. He went missing Monday morning.

According to family members, Taylor suffers from schizophrenia, a mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels and behaves.

MSNewsNow spoke with an expert about how to interact with someone who is mentally ill.

Over the past two years, we've reported at least five cases where a person with a mental illness went missing.

Thankfully, they were all found. Now, authorities are hoping for the same outcome with Taylor.

So, what should you know if you encounter someone with a mental illness?

Tiffany Anderson, a mental health expert at Hinds Behavioral Health Services, has some tips.

"The first thing that people in the community should know is that people with schizophrenia or a mental illness in general are not more or less dangerous than the general population," said Anderson.

Anderson also recommends that people listen even if what they are saying isn't making sense.

"Listen to what they are saying, and let them know that you are here to help and you want to help."

There are behavioral cues associated with schizophrenia, Anderson says.

"If your seeing disorganized behavior, disorganized, disorganized speech," she explained.

Anderson added that the person might be hearing voices or hallucinating, which may indicate they are in a psychotic state.

They are not necessarily dangerous, but that they might may need some additional help.

Most people know how to apply basic first aid, but Anderson said there is also mental health first-aid that's equally important to know.

"It teaches in layman's terms on how to keep a person safe particularly if your working in a field where come into contact with people on a regular basis. Then being certified as a mental health first-aider is beneficial," she said.

Anderson said that if you suspect someone is having a mental health emergency, or in this case, you happen to come into contact with Taylor or another missing person with mental illness, call the police and request a CIT officer with the mobile crisis team.

These officers are certified in responding to mental health emergencies.

Lastly, if you're interested in earning a certification in mental health first aid, Hinds Behavioral Health Services offers training courses.

For more information, visit the Hinds Behavioral Health Services website.

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