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Leaders ask community to focus on mental health after shooting

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48 hours after the tragic shooting at Deaconess Hospital, Spokane authorities are asking the community to turn its focus toward mental health. 48 hours after the tragic shooting at Deaconess Hospital, Spokane authorities are asking the community to turn its focus toward mental health.
SPOKANE, Wash. -

48 hours after the tragic shooting at Deaconess Hospital, Spokane authorities are asking the community to turn its focus toward mental health.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub asked Spokane residents to support funding for mental health programs and more advanced training in crisis intervention for his officers, even though 95 percent of Spokane police officers are already trained in some form of crisis intervention.

Tuesday's shooting resurfaced this discussion because of Christopher Henderson's prior mental health incidents. In May, Spokane police took Henderson into custody after his wife, Sheena, reported that he may be suicidal. They later found him inside a vehicle with a firearm in his possession, but they were able to convince Henderson to vacate the vehicle and hand over his weapon. Henderson was brought to Sacred Heart for an evaluation, and released.

Then on July 7th, the day before the shooting, deputies were called to Henderson's work location after a report he might be suicidal. However, deputies assessed him at the scene and decided he was neither a threat to himself nor others.

The morning of July 8th, Henderson entered Deaconess Hospital just after 9:30am, shot his wife, who worked as an employee there, and then killed himself.

Chief Straub says the public needs to be aware of mental health issues, and support programs within police agencies and around the city.

Staci Cornwell is the Director of Crisis Services at Frontier Behavioral Health. She echoed Chief Straub's sentiment, saying people need to look for changes in familiy and friends' behavior in order to detect signs of mental health issues. Things like altered sleep patterns or productivity at work can be a sign. She also noted the importance of contacting the proper authorities.

"You have to call, you have to make that step, and either contact law enforcement or we have 24/7 crisis lines that people can access."

 

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