Recent Columbia Co. parent's plea brings mental health to the forefront

We first reported on Tuesday about a Columbia County woman named Melanie Lee that went before a local school board, asking them to intervene after her son threaten other students and his own life.

It's been heavily discussed on social media and on the air. Austin Rhodes made the story the topic of his show yesterday.

"There's really no way to tell where the accuracy is in the story and it's very, very tough for a parent to articulate that at a school board meeting," Rhodes said.

"It's really not the venue for it," Rhodes continued. "Those are politicians there, they cannot get personally involved in these cases and I don't see the board policy not being followed."
But Lee, in her desperate plea, said she contacted the Columbia County Sheriff's Office and her son's school after he made threats to other students and threatened to harm himself.

Those threats are enough to call cause for concern, according to family doctor Sharon Palmer, with Doctor's Hospital Urgent + Primary Care in Columbia County.

"A lot of the times, unfortunately, the parents sees it as just being a regular child but often times it's the first sign of something else that's brewing," Palmer said. "So the earlier that they can seek treatment, the earlier they can get help for that child."

Dr. Palmer says some of those red flags are changes in school performance, the inability to cope with regular problems and acting out or threatening to harm themselves or others.

"There's not much that they can do usually because they're not trained to evaluate that child and figure out what's going on," said Plamer.

Dr. Palmer says parents should take their children to a pediatrician immediately who can then refer them to a psychologist or psychiatrist if one is needed.

Warning signs that your child might have a mental health condition include:

  • Mood changes
  • Behavior changes
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Physical harm
  • Substance abuse

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