ABILENE, Texas (BigCountryHomepage.com) – A 7-hour ordeal at Betty Hardwick Center, a mental health service in South Abilene, began with a young man threatening to harm himself with a firearm Thursday morning. Situations like these beg the need for resources in the area for people, or loved ones of those, suffering from serious mental illnesses. The most important thing to notate is that you are never alone.

“The person that’s in distress is by himself, so there is nobody else in danger. So, in a situation like this, we kind of take it easy, kind of slow down the process and make sure that we don’t push the situation for his safety and our safety,” explained Rick Tomlin with the Abilene Police Department.

In Thursday’s situation, a client who goes to Betty Hardwick weekly to refill his medication told KTAB/KRBC he was surprised to be met with such a heavy police presence.

“I tried to get in over there, but the cops wouldn’t let me in,” the client described. “I’ve seen a lot of people lose their temper in there but nothing like this.” 

An anonymous Abilene resident waited patiently outside of Betty Hardwick as their family member was under lockdown at the center.

“To know he was in a situation where something could happen to him scares me a lot,” revealed the anonymous source.

Mental health resources in Abilene:

Betty Hardwick Center

The Betty Hardwick Mental Health First Aid program is a free course that gives anyone the tools to better understand how mental illness impacts a life, as well as how to best offer support when someone you know is in need.

Fill out a free course registration form here

The Betty Hardwick Center is located at 2616 South Clack Street – (325) 690-5100.

Highland Counseling Center

Located within Highland Church of Christ in South Abilene, the church says they offer counseling sessions for marriage, family, divorce, coping mechanisms, sexual abuse, grief, anxiety, depression, and more. They also offer online sessions and have a group Sexaholics Anonymous class for men.

Highland Church of Christ is located at 425 Highland Avenue – 325-673-5295.

Oceans Healthcare

This is an inpatient and outpatient mental hospital program overseen by Board-certified or Board-eligible psychiatrists. Staff hosts the following services: Inpatient behavioral assessments for adults and adolescents, partial hospitalizations and intensive outpatient programs for adults, Star Military Program, medication management, and more.

Oceans is located at 4225 Woods Place – 325-437-6699.

Outside of town, you may call:

  • 9-8-8, the dedicated national suicide and crisis lifeline.
  • 2-1-1, a Texas community assistance program for a wide variety of topics. An operator would connect you with an appropriate service.

Mental health crises can happen in a variety of manners for a variety of reason. One major crisis is domestic violence.

For immediate assistance, the Noah Project in Abilene is the number one resource for domestic violence. Call 1 (800) 444-3551 or click here to email the service.

The Noah Project works with women and families to mold domestic violence victims into survivors. Support services are offered to men, women, children and unaccompanied youth who are experiencing family, domestic dating and sexual violence.

Additional resources:

Abilene Police Department, Regional Victim Crisis Center (325) 677-7895 Sexual assault, physical assault, murder, robbery, kidnapping, stalking, etc.
Abilene Police Department, Regional Victim Crisis Center (325) 676-7107 Family violence
Abilene Adult Protective Services (325) 691-8100 Abuse, neglect and exploitation of adults who are elderly or have disabilities 
Abilene Child Protective Services(325) 691-8100State agencies designed to protect children from abuse or neglect
Child Advocacy Center (CAC) (325) 738-8060 Child sex abuse
Harmony Family Services, Inc. (325) 672-7200Therapeutic foster care & emergency shelter for abused/neglected children
Abilene Behavioral Health (800) 335-3498 Inpatient and outpatient mental health services

More relevant, the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Abilene (NAMI Abilene) is hosting its seventh annual Mental Health Awareness Conference this weekend. The annual event is a chance for communities to build their own grassroots movement to help engage faith communities, mental health providers, NAMI members, and other community partners in building sustainable coalitions in support of people impacted by and with mental health issues, and help people find local resources for better mental health care.

This event will go on between Friday, August 25 and Saturday, August 26 between 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at 317 North Willis Street. Follow this link to register.