Houston, TX. – One in five women in the U.S. experienced a mental health condition last year, according to psychiatry.org.
Both in Texas and the nine-county Houston metro area, women experience more days of poor mental health than men, according to Understanding Houston.
On Tuesday, a Houston area mother shot and killed her 6-year-old daughter and then turned the gun on herself, investigators said.
In October of 2022, authorities said 37-year-old Melissa Towne confessed to killing her 5-year-old daughter, stabbing and strangling the toddler at a park.
“There’s no one predictor of how somebody is going to act when there’s mental illness,” said Heather Timmis, a clinical director at the Nick Finnegan Counseling Center.
The signs someone may be in distress include irrational beliefs and thoughts of harming others.
“Really what you’re looking for is, is there a big change in behavior? What are the things they are saying? It’s noticing patterns altogether,” Timmis said.
Towne had reportedly been institutionalized at least nine times.
Investigators said the mom from Tuesday’s tragic murder-suicide struggled with depression.
Timmis adds that with mental illness, the much bigger issue in Texas is isolation and lack of support. When people do reach out, they don’t always know where to go.
According to Understanding Houston, Texas is at the bottom of the national rankings for access to mental health treatment with Houston area residents having significantly less access to mental health care providers than the national average.
To flip the script, Timmis said we have to do better.
“How do we get more training for everyone, whether that’s education programs or continuing education resources,” Timmis said.
If you need help or know someone who does, the following resources are available in the Houston area:
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