From National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI for Southern Arizona):

Call (520) 622-6000
or 1 (866) 495-6735

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“If you are in immediate crisis, whether it be for you or your loved one, call the above Community Wide Crisis line.”

 

The shooting/killing of UA Hydrology Dept. Chair Tom Meixner on Oct. 5, 2022 once again raises the issue of mental illness and gun violence. After reading the comprehensive report from The Tucson Sentinel  (https://www.tucsonsentinel.com/local/report/101322_meixner_killing/ua-profs-felt-like-sitting-ducks-as-they-pleaded-help-before-meixner-killing/, I would like to remind our readers that if you notice that someone is mentally ill, please call the Community Crisis Help line, 520-622-6000.  I have this # in my cell phone address book and will call if I see anyone experiencing mental issues harmful to her/himself or to others.

In that Meixner tragedy, neighbors, students, faculty & staff noticed that the alleged shooter Murad Dervish was exhibiting grave signs of mental illness with his verbal and email threats over months.  Unfortunately he obtained several guns and recently after he had been evicted from his West University apt. alleged sought out to express his anger & frustration at his former colleagues at the Dept. of Hydrology.  Perhaps crisis intervention could have helped him, but now he’s in prison, awaiting the 1st degree murder charge of his former dept. head. Condolences to Professor Meixner’s family and friends. My UA professor husband plays volleyball with one of the Hydrology Dept. former grad students.

Years ago when our son was at University High School, he told me that one of his teen male friends had threatened to shoot another male student in their math class.  That friend was becoming isolated, withdrawn and drawing pictures of dead animals in black.  I discussed this situation with my son who didn’t want me to call the school officials/counseling office, but I had had suicide prevention training in Boston and knew of mental health problems being a Psychology major in college. So I did call the UHS Counseling office and they took immediate family intervention steps. We knew that boy’s father was with the military and had guns in the household, plus the mother was a limited English speaking immigrant, which could all be problems for that boy and the family.  Crisis intervention counseling helped the family and the boy turned around, stopped threatening anyone, became joyful and happy again, interacting with the other high schoolers appropriately.  To this day I am glad I reported him and that there was no mass shooting at UHS. (My son had been friends with him at middle school as well, so we had known that family for years.)

Before that Tucson Mass Shooting on Jan. 8, 2011 of former CD 8 Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and 18 others, the shooter was exhibiting signs of mental illness with his verbal rantings around PCC Northwest campus, and in class.  Crisis intervention counseling may have helped him at age 21 as well, but instead he choose to arm himself and go to that Congress on Your Corner event at the Safeway supermarket complex on Ina/Oracle Rd. I personally knew his mother for years from a nonprofit group I was a board member on,  and I wonder what else could have been done to help that shooter and his family before he committed the mass murders of 6 innocent people, and injured 13 others including Gabby and her then-District Director Ron Barber, later a Congressman as well.

 

 

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