Dealing with Troubled Kids: "It comes down to family relationships."

, Posted: Mon, December 17 2012 at 6:06 PM, Updated: Mon, December 17 2012 at 7:30 PM

20 young children, six adults, a gunman, and his mother...all dead, with reports that 20-year-old Adam Lanza who police say was the shooter, may have had a mental disorder. The tragedy has renewed discussion on mental health and its dwindling funding.

"Over time those budget have become smaller and we've had to do more for less," said Stacy Brubaker, Division Manager for Jackson County Mental Health.

Mental health services for many cash-strapped states have been on the chopping block. It's not good for parents who need help dealing with their children. But what options do parents really have, especially if the person they love refuses therapy or medication?

"A lot of it comes down to family relationships," began Brubaker.

"See if there's maybe a relative that maybe this kid has a relationship with and may be able to influence them in a different way a parent could."

As for authorities, police Chief Tim George said a person doesn't necessarily have to be violent or break the law before police can get involved.

"We want to be there before that happens someone is calling us because someone has made threats to harm themselves or somebody else," said Chief George.

"You don't have to sit back and wait until something would happen [...] someone has got to make the initial report," he said.

But experts said sometimes there's no indication, no threats or predictability.

"Unfortunately bad things happen sometimes and you don't even have a warning," said Brubaker.

However, for parents looking to help their kids, whatever age they are...

"I tell parents all the time [...] the key with any age of your child [is] to be able to have those ongoing dialogues with them and get a good gauge and be able to know when their behavior has changed," Brubaker recommended.

We have yet to learn if Adam Lanza's behavior changed prior to the shooting. His mother would be the one to know and she, too, is a casualty of the mass shooting.

According to Medford Police, they've seen more people with mental health issues. Chief Tim George said their numbers are off the charts. At least for Medford, the police chief attributes the rise in part, to the economy and substance abuse.

In addition, a Human Rights Watch report, found the number of mentally ill inmates in US prisons and jails quadrupled between the years 2000 and 2006.


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