Mental health expert discusses crisis prevention

Topeka West

A Topeka West student is still in custody tonight, after he is accused of planning a school shooting at Topeka West High School.

It can happen anywhere in the country, the key in stopping this possible shooting, was people paying attention to this student.

Nicolette Schleisman explains how you can identify warning signs to prevent a tragedy.

A potential school shooting was stopped before it could happen. During a press conference Wednesday about 17-year-old Brendan Moore, District Attorney Chad Taylor credited people in the Topeka West student’s life for stopping his plans in the tracks.
But, it raises a question about future attacks, what is the difference between just talk and a real threat?
“We don’t want to ignore it, you want to address it, take it serious, investigate it, figure it out,” said Steve Christenberry.
Steve Christenberry is the director of clinical services at the Family Service and Guidance Center. He says that with any issue, mental or physical, the key to prevention is spotting it early and getting help.
“Earlier you intervene with a problem, the more likely you are to successfully address it and get people the help they need,” said Christenberry.
Christenberry says warning signs vary, but some include a teen withdrawing from their social life, and spending time alone.
At Wednesday’s press conference, it was not released who reported the crime in Moore’s case, but the fact that they knew something was wrong prevented a potential tragedy.
“If you believe you know of a kid who is acting erratically, talking about stuff way out of the norm that probably shouldn’t be talking about, to let law enforcement know,” said Taylor.
Intervention stopped this potential crisis, Christenberry says paying attention to someone’s life can stop many more.
The Family Service and Guidance Center has a mental health first aid class for adults on how to deal with adults and children that show signs of mental issues.
The class is free. A link for the class schedule and how to sign up, visit: http://www.fsgctopeka.com/MHFA.cfm
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