Eyeing Danger Signs Could Prevent Nightmare Scenarios

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Evidence shows Cho Seung-Hiu displayed signs of poor mental health prior to Monday's massacre, signs that should easily be spotted.

Psychiatrist Christopher Colenda is the dean of medicine at Texas A&M Health Science Center. He said alterations in characteristic norms can signal trouble.

"Changes in behavior are things to be aware of," Colenda said.

He said people who exhibit certain changes should raise your red flags.

"Folks who have difficulty with maintaining anger control, people who have threatening in terms of bullying behavior, and people who have clear evidence where they may not be reasoning quite the same way as they once have," Colenda said.

He adds the stresses of being a student can sometimes wear down coping skills. Any student at A&M showing these symptoms can find support at the Student Counseling Service.

Besides counselors, there are two psychiatrists on staff. When a case needs more attention than their facility can provide, it is referred to the Mental Health Mental Retardation Authority of Brazos Valley.

Shane De los Santos is a licensed professional counselor in the Emergency Service Department at MHMR.

"The main thing we want to assess is risk of harm in a crisis screening," De Los Santos said of when a student comes to their facility.

She said a screening would be conducted to evaluate a student's mental state.

"Current mental health status, any risk of harm, any thoughts of suicide, any thoughts of homicide," De Los Santos said.

Healthcare providers would then determine if a student's perception has become distorted. In that event, appropriate treatment would be provided.

Experts say, if you think there is a problem, say something. The worst thing you can do is keep quiet.