Crisis experts offer help for those impacted by two Highlands Ranch deaths

Posted at 7:22 PM, Jan 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-31 21:22:56-05

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. -- Calls come into the Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners at a rate of 600 to 700 per day.

Licensed counselors are on hand 24/7 to answer phone calls and text messages from people seeking mental health help.

That call volume increases after tragedies, like the two deaths in Highlands Ranch, counselors said.

Early Monday morning, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said it was called to find 39-year-old Cristi Benavides and 10-year-old Emma Benavides dead inside their home.

Douglas County Coroner Jill Roman said Tuesday Emma died of multiple gunshot wounds.

While crisis counselors are on hand at Northridge Elementary School where Emma attended classes, those at Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners said it's important parents know how to talk to their children about issues like this at home.

“We are a resource where a lot of times people will call in and kind of ask us, ‘How do I have that conversation, I think I know another student,” said Alli Douglas, a counselor with Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners.  “If their child is hearing about it at school and they're not sure what it means, kind of how to provide psychoeducation to parents around what's appropriate to share with their child around the trauma that's been discussed."

"What we want to do is to simply acknowledge what we've learned, that they've been exposed to and to say, 'Do you have questions? What are your thoughts about this? What are you feeling about this?'” said Bev Marquez, CEO of Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners.

Marquez asks parents of children impacted to make sure to keep an eye on their habits and any possible changes.

"It's important to watch things like their sleep and their appetite and their behavior and to know that that's where it's going to show up in kids not necessarily as a problem, but as a reaction,” said Marquez.

The call center is staffed with counselors 24/7 and you can call 1-844-493-8255 for guidance or help.


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