Dealing with Other’s Mental Health

So, the upside of my life with all my mental health problems – really very little drama or excitement.  It is pretty even keel for most things.  However, a downside is feeling woefully unprepared for some of the things life throws at me. Case in point one of the people I work with.   In recent months he had some issues and moved as well as some other external issues that I am peripherally aware of. Within work he is transitioning to a new department. A few months ago we (some co-workers and myself) started noticing some changes in his behavior.

At first it wasn’t anything noticeable, to raise suspicion of anything. He had also mentioned to others feeling left out now that he was transitioning to the new department – even though he sat in the same area as us.  He was being left out of our non work conversations and we just seemed to be ignoring him.  This wasn’t the intent, however it was an outcome of having to reorganize the department and his new role. We started making a bigger effort to include him our conversations and stopping in to talk to him at his desk.

I had thought things were going ok until one day last week, he came and confronted me on some shady behavior he thought I had been doing.  I, however, had not been doing what he told me and offered whatever he wanted as proof because, frankly, there is no way I would do what he was saying.

After, I chatted with my co-workers about it and they told me his behavior was getting worse. He was becoming very paranoid about things and just general strange behavior. Thinking back there were other situations that seemed off that I just chalked up to miscommunication somewhere.. was he in trouble, whispers about him by co-workers etc.  We agreed to all keep an eye on him as we tried to figure out what exactly might be going on, and how best to help him.

This  weekend it came to a head when I got strange texts from him about some work stuff some not work stuff. To the point I called my boss on Saturday to ask what he wanted me to do. I explained the previous items and little back story and explained the person had left physical items he was ‘turning in to management’ that might be tamped with and have work data on it – at my house while I was out. My boss called him and they talked and then he called me back and let me know the gist if it.  Life was good.

Then, comes Sunday night. I have never really dealt with anyone who suffered a bigger.. er larger..  more encompassing I guess – mental health problem than myself. Most of the people I know with mental health problems, seem to have a grasp on them most of the time. They are what I refer to as functioning mental problems.  This poor kid however threw me for a loop.  He started talking about things that made me afraid for him, and I had no idea how to help him.

I spoke with my boss about this, and this morning my boss got him to meet with some crisis services people and they said he is suffering from a psychotic break. He is possibly hearing things, the conversation he tells me about may or may not be true, paranoia and other items. I have no idea what to do for this.   Even more, it seems he keeps reaching out to me for some reason as tonight while typing this he reached out again.  I got him to contact the police, and then called the police to talk to them and let them know as much as I could – so they could hopefully help him better with some understanding instead of thinking he is on drugs or worse.  I also got him the number of crisis services so he can call them and hopefully get some other help.

I find myself feeling very lost dealing with this. I don’t know what to say or do or how to help.  While I’m glad he trusts me, I feel like this is the blind leading the blind.  I am the least equipped person to deal with mental health issues. I am not mentally healthy myself.