Why Seek Professional Help?

Emergency? Determine if everyone is safe. Are there weapons?  Are other persons, especially children, in the vicinity? In all life threatening situations, please call RI Emergency 911 directly.

Why seek professional help?

The brain is one of the body’s major organs like the heart, lung, liver or kidney. Just as you would not tell someone to get over a heart attack, high blood pressure, diabetes or cancer, so should you not tell someone to get over depression. Treat signs of depression and threats of suicide as part of a serious illness.

Changes in medications or diet, stress, lifestyle issues or previously undiagnosed medical problems can also impact on a person’s physical and behavioral well being often causing chemical imbalances and impacting on a person’s ability to cope.

A person who is depressed and may be expressing suicidal feelings often has a hard time thinking clearly or recognizing his or her own symptoms.

Symptoms including negative thinking, inappropriate behaviors or physical changes that last more than two weeks need to be assessed as soon as possible.

Depression is treatable and suicide is preventable but coordinated care among medical and behavioral health specialists is essential.

Professional treatment, coordinated between licensed medical and behavioral health care providers, may not only lessen the severity of depression but may reduce the length of time (duration) a person is depressed and may prevent additional bouts of depression.

By RI law, the insured and uninsured must be treated at RI’s acute care hospital emergency rooms. Not all patients will be admitted, but hospitals can provide guidance on follow-up care and treatment.  For all children (infant -18), visit Hasbro Children’s Hospital for an emergency assessment, medical clearance and referrals to local resources.

Offer to go with your loved one as he or she seeks professonal care. Often times, a depressed person is so hopeless and despairing he or she is unable to seek help.  Offer to go along. Encourage your family member or friend to give his or her permission for you to speak on their behalf to emergency, primary and behavioral health care providers. Present your list of concerns, observations and all background information.

Your loved one won’t give his or her permission? You still have options.

Under the privacy provisions of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), medical personnel may not be able to talk to you about a loved one or friend but you can tell medical professionals what you know and have observed.  Hopefully, your input will help provide direction for emergency assessments, treatment and referrals.

From the emergency room, contact your loved one’s pediatrician, family doctor, specialists or primary care facility. Family history, medications and undiagnosed medical problems are just a few issues that can impact on a person’s physical and behavioral well being and ability to cope. Knowledge of these changes could help in the assessment process.

Request patient information between emergency room personnel, primary care as well as specialty care doctors be exchanged. Follow-up to make sure medical records and reports were received on both ends.

Not an emergency but still concerned? Ask for help and direction. Write a list of concerns, observations, past and current medical issues and health care challenges as well as any thoughts of depression and suicide. Share your concerns with a trusted family member or friend, emergency room personnel, primary health care doctor, health insurance company, behavioral health care provider or social service coordinator.

Professional help is available in every community.

There are many places in the community where people can access treatment and help. Help is available from family doctors, mental health specialists in community mental health agencies or private clinics, referrals from your health insurance provider and from other health professionals.

Visit our City and Town pages to find resources in your community.

Suicide Prevention Resources for Rhode Island Residents

Enter the name of your city or town for local resources.