Aurora Shooter’s Mother Brings Awareness to Signs of Mental Illness
May 20, 2016

The movie theater shooting in 2012 ended with 12 people dead and 70 injured. One can only describe that night as a tragedy. To honor Mental Health Awareness month, Arlene Holmes, the mother of the shooter, came forward in an interview on 10News to draw attention to why knowing the signs of mental illness for early detection is important.

Aurora shooter displayed early signs of mental illness

Arlene Holmes painted a picture of her son’s early life; he was a happy, normal child until something changed in adolescence. He began withdrawing into himself, becoming irritable and having issues in social situations. They tried seeing a family therapist for around a year, but eventually gave it up. James Holmes continued to seclude himself and struggle with focusing, becoming delusional and spiraling towards psychosis.

We all know what happens next.

She emphasized the need to seek out professional aid: “These are the things that people need to really hone in on, and don’t try to do like he did and I did, which is try and just keep going or solve everything yourself…You need the help of a professional.”

She articulated her desire to honor the victims of the shooting by pressing others to educate themselves and become aware of the early signs of mental illness to avoid missing what she did. By catching mental illness early, people have a much higher chance of recovering and moving forward.

Red flags of mental illness

In the interview, an experienced doctor named Dr. Fix spoke about the prevalence of mental illness. According to Dr. Fix, about 1 in 4 families will feel the effects of mental illness at some point. Mental illnesses aren’t uncommon, though they’re treated that way. From anxiety to schizophrenia to ADHD, it’s important to recognize when something isn’t right and look for help.

Common signs of mental illness:

  • Social isolation, withdrawal from others
  • Becoming increasingly despondent or depressed
  • Changes in appetite, sleep, and/or mood
  • Difficulty processing thoughts or focusing
  • Drug and alcohol abuse

If you’ve seen any signs of mental illness in your child, it’s imperative to seek out the support and guidance of a professional.

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