Help available for parents struggling with new baby

November 11, 2018

BULLHEAD CITY — There is hope and help for parents struggling with the demands of caring for a baby.

Difficult under normal circumstances, new parents dealing with a combination of day-to-day stress and mental or behavioral problems can feel as if they’re being pushed toward the brink.

People having trouble coping with the responsibilities of taking care of a baby can seek advice and assistance, however.

Dalton Milne, 22, was arrested this week on suspicion of child abuse after allegedly throwing his 3-month-old daughter onto a hard chair because she wouldn’t stop crying, which resulted in brain damage to the child, said the Bullhead City Police Department.

“For parents who feel overwhelmed, we recommend they seek help immediately,” said Darren DaRonco, public relations officer for the Arizona Department of Child Safety.

If someone is feeling suicidal or homicidal, he advises they call 911 or go to the nearest hospital for help.

Terros Health offers crisis services through an around-the-clock crisis hotline, 1-877-756-4090, for immediate crises and emotional distress related to alcohol, drugs, abuse, developmental disabilities, domestic violence or a psychiatric emergency.

Terros also operates a countywide crisis response network that can travel to the scene of a crisis if conversing over the telephone isn’t enough for high-risk situations.

“We try to stabilize the client, assess the situation and their needs, determine whether the client needs to see somebody else,” said Tom Baughman, crisis clinical manager. “It’s for anybody and of no cost for the individual.”

Not all young family crises end up like Milne’s incident, he said.

Because Baughman isn’t familiar with the case or those involved, he couldn’t speak about it specifically. But he did note that around Mohave County “it’s not rare” for babies and young children to get hurt or be neglected by a parent who’s frustrated, inexperienced or has anger management issues — especially if that parent is struggling with a substance disorder, for example.

And, “sometimes police get involved in something that isn’t a police incident,” Baughman said.

Behavioral health providers can assist a family on the edge before first responders must intervene.

Getting the client into good care or training is crucial so their family remains whole, healthy and together, care providers assert.

Southwest Behavioral Health & Services, which operates a crisis line weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 928-763-7776, offers training to become better parents even when they are trying to cope with “a mountain of frustrations,” said Ashley Tozier, Southwest Behavioral and Health Services’ director of local clinics in Bullhead City. “Sometimes having someone to talk to can help de-escalate things and make a difference.”

The hotline switches over to Terros during non-business hours and weekends

SBHS also offers an array of support programs for families, including six weeks of training in positive parenting. Other ways to obtain help include individual or group counseling.

Medicaid patients can get help through SBHS and fees are based on need and ability to pay.

“We work with anybody and everybody,” Tozier said.

WestCare offers a First 5 program using nurturing parenting that’s led by two professionals, said Bobby DeBatt, West Care’s domestic violence coordinator.

People in trouble can come to support offices as well and simply tell an employee they need help because they are in crisis.

There is an around-the-clock domestic violence advocate who also takes crisis line calls at 928-201-5136.

WestCare offers other care and protective services if a situation has become violent. If it can’t help, it will direct the client to a place that can. All of these area providers can help someone find the right care and guidance that shouldn’t be so expensive that it adds to the stress, those interviewed said.

DaRonco suggested parents go to https://dcs.az.gov/services/office-prevention for other resources.

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