TAMPA - "You spit in my face and make me feel not human. Do you even know what you're doing?" Thirteen-year-old Tinisha Nisbett wrote this poem while being bullied at school. “You push me down, pull my hair, say mean things so people stare."
Depressed and talking to no one, Tinisha felt like, “I just wanted to quit.” She had feelings she might want to hurt herself.
Her mother knew something was seriously wrong. “I called 2-1-1 and they connected me to the crisis center.”
The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay exists to handle calls like Muria's. They handled one just this morning.
Vicki Hummer is the Director of Trauma Services there. “If someone is in a critical situation and talking of wanting to hurt themselves or someone else, they'll keep them on the phone and sort out over the phone how much of a risk they are at that moment.”
Crisis counselors can call police, or help coordinate with at a local facility if someone needs to be brought in under the Baker act. Hummer says, “They can stay for up to 72 hours, at which point the staff there determines whether they need to continue to be observed.”
But more often, the team sets up counseling. That's what happened in Tinisha's case. She says drawing and writing helped her deal with the anger and hurt.
Her mom Muria says, “If I had just brushed it off and brushed it off, it could have gotten worse. She could have ended up like the shooter in Connecticut.”
Sometimes counseling isn’t enough. Local residential facilities are available, but parents on my Facebook page tell me beds are often full, prices often too high and they're still looking for better long term solutions.
What do you think needs to happen to address the topic of mental health in our country? The debate is already underway on my Facebook page.
Visit http://www.facebook.com/LindaHurtadoWFTS , click like and leave your comment.
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