What’s the Best Thing to do?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Recently, My mother had a talk with my brother because he has been thinking of jumping off the top of a building. I think she made him feel a little better after a talk. He has become Atheist, I mean he’s only 17 and shouldn’t be thinking these ways. But he just recently said that he’s been daydreaming of different ways of killing my mother…He said he pictured her hanging and he’s cutting her piece by piece…This shouldn’t be going on and I really feel he needs to talk with someone. Now we are scared to have him babysit my little sister who is 8 because he grabbed her from her shirt and pulled her off the ground up to the wall and yelled at her in her face.

Please help me, is there a number I can call to schedule an appointment with a Psychologist or…I’ve never been in this situation.

A. You are right to be concerned. Your brother is engaging in dangerous behavior. He is acting out aggressively. You also said that he is experiencing disturbing images and fantasies. Intervention is necessary.

I’m not sure what your role is in the family, or how much you can influence your brother but if you can convince him to see a therapist, then you should. He needs help.

There are several ways to approach this matter. Your parents should have him evaluated by a mental health professional. They can do this by asking a primary care physician for a referral. They can also contact the local mental health clinic or community mental health center and ask for an appointment. Having him evaluated is a first step, assuming that he is willing to cooperate.

If he’s not willing to cooperate, then you may have to approach this problem differently. For instance, when your brother was thinking about jumping off the top of the building, emergency services should have been called. That might have included 911 or a local mental health crisis team. Many communities have local mental health crisis teams who can come to the home, evaluate the situation and assist families in handling dangerous situations. Find out if you have a mental health crisis team in your community. You can do this by searching the yellow or white pages or by doing an Internet search. Enter the search terms [name of town] and “mental health crisis team” into the search engine.

If your brother is dangerous and is acting out aggressively, don’t hesitate to call the police. Understandably, you may be reluctant to do so but it’s important to protect your family and your brother when he is out of control. The police won’t necessarily arrest your brother. They may transport him to a psychiatric hospital for treatment.

I hope your family is able to get your brother the help he needs. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle
Mental Health & Criminal Justice Blog

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 12 Jul 2013

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2013). What’s the Best Thing to do?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 27, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/07/12/whats-the-best-thing-to-do/