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    What can a social worker or police officer do to help an adult living with mental illness and lives alone but is in desperate need of help and will not communicate with family?

    A great question, but one that is very hard to answer without specific details. Ultimately, it is hard for the police to do much for someone who does not want help and is still able to care for themselves. Mental illness oftentimes significantly debilitates someone, but they are still able to care for their basic needs, i.e. food, clothing and shelter. However, the police are able to witness things about a person who is mentally ill that can help us articulate to the courts that they are unable to care for themselves. This most often occurs during a well-being check. Say for instance you haven’t heard from your sister in several weeks, which is abnormal and she is known to suffer from mental illness. It then is very appropriate to contact the police department where she resides and request a well-being check on her. The police are then able to document a sound reason for contact with the person suffering from mental illness. The police department may also make observations that show the individual in need is no longer able to care for themselves. Action may then be taken to try and get them some help. Oftentimes, this is a long process, but you must try to have an officer work with them to get your family member the help they need.