9 News reporter Eric Egan reported on a story out of Centennial last night where he discovered a woman who has been acting strangely and refusing help for months.
Her neighbors became concerned when they discovered she had been defecating in her backyard. They also started seeing rats coming from the house and in surrounding backyards. They said she never leaves her house and has not answered the door when concerned citizens try to help. The health department has served her several warnings, but so far, nothing has worked.
This is a tragic story, because it is almost certain this woman has a serious mental illness (or a physical illness that has symptoms similar to mental illness), and she is not getting the help she needs. In fact, she is refusing all help. She won't even come to the door.
The neighbors feel lost, and they are conflicted--they want to help this woman, and they also want the unsanitary conditions to be remediated.
Here is Eric's story:
Click here to watch if the above video does not automatically appear.
Although it is not perfect, there is a law in Colorado that allows anyone who suspects a person is mentally ill and in danger to petition the probate court for a court-ordered mental health evaluation by a licensed professional. A few months ago, I wrote a blog post outlining the steps a person needs to take, and a link to it is here.
If her neighbors have not already tried, it could be helpful for someone to petition the court for a mental health evaluation by a professional who has the authority to place her on a 72-hour mental health hold and get her to a hospital, if necessary.
Thanks for reading-- Max Wachtel, Ph.D.