Protect Yourself From the Potentially Violent, Mentally Ill
Posted on: 5:49 pm, June 15, 2012, by Daniel Hight, updated on: 06:27pm, June 15, 2012

(Memphis) Shun Bowdery saw the aftermath of what happened with Benito Martinez, whose sister says is mentally ill.

According to police, Martinez stabbed his 7 and 8-year-old nieces and their mother  Thursday.

“It makes you wonder who else is like that,” said Bowdery. “If there is one person in your neighborhood like that, it makes you look at everyone and think who else is crazy. Who else is going to snap? My kids don’t even want to come outside and play anymore,” she added.

Bowdery is thankful no one died.

If you find yourself in a situation with someone who is prone to violence and is mentally ill, there are ways to protect yourself.    

“I think we have to be honest and realize that a mentally ill person who has the potential to do physical harm does not make discriminations about who or when they’re going to necessarily hurt somebody,” said Judy Bookman, who has 30 years of experience in Mental Health.

Bookman said that appears to be the case for Martinez.

She said it’s important for families not to support the behavior of a mentally ill person because they’re unwilling to admit there’s a problem, “Family members will tell themselves that this person is not the seriously ill or even if they recognize the violence. They will say, ‘he would never hurt me’.”

Bookman says look for symptoms like severe agitation, a raised voice and denied personal space.

That, with a loss of reality, can be potentially dangerous.

She says in any case, if things get out of hand, call 911, “Memphis Police are very well-trained and they have a mobile crisis center that can come to your home and get a person to a spot where they can be evaluated.”