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Mental health counselor calls Frank James’ social media posts a ‘cry for help’

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Posted at 6:18 PM, Apr 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-14 10:59:54-04

MILWAUKEE — Frank James posted several videos on Youtube in the days and months prior to becoming the suspect in the Brooklyn subway mass shooting on Tuesday. James has ties to Milwaukee where he recently lived on the city’s north side.

Experts say acts of mass violence can often go hand-in-hand with mental health issues. While we don’t know James’ mental health history, we took some of his social media videos to a Milwaukee psychiatrist to identify potential red flags.

In one post less than a month ago that was removed from Youtube on Wednesday, James made alarming comments behind a picture of a white van.

"Since (expletive) are trying to get me locked up, why don't I just plan to get myself locked up? But I planned and I prepared and I'll be ready for it,” he said in a post on March 18. “I'll do what I have to do and just resign myself to the fact, no regrets, I had nothing to lose and let that be it."

Simmone Kilgore is a mental health counselor and trauma therapist in Milwaukee.

"What came to my mind was what came to my heart, which was an overwhelming amount of sadness, of course for those that were harmed, but for him as well,” she said.

When asked if Kilgore saw James’ comments as a cry for help, she replied, “Absolutely, absolutely. Anytime someone's internal emotions, negative emotions that are internalized spill out in terms of social media are kind of like sounding the alarm, those are warnings for folks, those of us that know the person or love the person or live near the person to say, 'hey, something's going on.’”


Kilgore says it’s been a huge phenomenon over recent years for people struggling with mental health to share how they’re feeling on social media instead of with their family, friends and coworkers.

"That load can feel so heavy that they want to release it, which is normal, but if I can't get into a therapist right away, if I don't trust the idea of therapy or if there's a stigma around it, if I don't have insurance or money, social media has been that for folks,” she said.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration says less than 9% of Black men who experience mental health issues seek treatment compared to about 19% of white men.

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Kilgore works with Milwaukee’s Office of Violence Prevention to bring those resources into the community in an effort to help those in need right where they live.

"One of the things we can do to reduce stigma for all people, men, women and children is to talk about mental well being on a regular basis like we do everything else,” she said. “Open up, share your experiences, let people know you understand where they're at."

If you see something alarming on social media or know someone who needs help, there are all sorts of resources available, from 24-hour crisis hotlines to therapists and counselors who are just one call away.

IMPACT 2-1-1

Impact 2-1-1 is open and available 24/7. They offer services to anyone struggling with drug abuse, mental health issues, and now, the coronavirus outbreak. If you need non-emergency assistance, you can call 211 and speak to a community resource specialist who can refer callers to medical professionals.

Milwaukee County 24-Hour Crisis Line
Call 414-257-7222. They also have a mobile team that can come to you if needed.

Caregiver Help Desk
Contact the care support team to find information about navigating complex caregiving challenges. Call 855-277-3640.

Crisis Text Line
No matter what kind of crisis you find yourself in, you can text MHA to 741741 and you’ll be connected to a trained Crisis Counselor.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance is offering online meetings for anyone struggling with depression or a bipolar disorder. Click here to see the meeting schedule and sign up.

Domestic Abuse Intervention Services
If you or someone you know is health with domestic abuse during this time, call Domestic Abuse Intervention Services' 24-hour help line at 608-251-4445.

HOPELINE Text Service
This service offers assistance with ANY issue you may be having. All you have to do is text HOPELINE to 741741.

Journey Mental Health Center
If you or someone you know is going through a mental health emergency, call Journey at (608) 280-2600 and speak to a trained professional.

Lutheran Counseling and Family Services of Wisconsin (LCFS)
Here to help those struggling with anxiety, fear, and isolation. Call 414-536-8333 to speak with someone about counseling.

Mental Health America - Wisconsin
Select your county here. From there, there will be a directory that lets you select what type of help they need, the primary clients that need help, and finally, what type of payments options/insurances they have available if needed. Once that info. is put in, the site will show contact information for organizations that fit their criteria.

Milwaukee Behavioral Health Division
Click here for more information about the Milwaukee Behavioral Health Division.

Milwaukee Women's Center
Milwaukee Women's Center: (414) 671-6140 / Fax: (414) 221-0169, Milwaukee Women's Center 24-Hour Domestic Violence Crisis Line: (414) 671-6140

National Alliance on Mental Illness
If you're experiencing a mental health crisis, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness 24 hour helpline at 1-800-950-6264.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

This lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals. Call 1-800-273-8255 for help.

Parents Experiencing Stress
You can contact a confidential helpline at (414) 671-0566.

This is a 24-hour line for youth in crisis. Call 414-271-1560 for help.

Prevent Suicide Wisconsin

If you or someone you know is thinking of committing suicide, call Prevent Suicide Wisconsin. For your county's phone number, click here.

Red Cross Wisconsin
To reach out for free 24/7 counseling or support, contact the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs’ to 66746.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has professionals on hand to help with any struggles you may be facing. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

Shine offers resources for anxiety and your mental health in a global climate of uncertainty. They have experts on hand to answer questions, free meditations, and even an online space where you can just take a break and enjoy some comforting content. Click here for more.

Sixteenth Street
Set up an appointment with a mental health provider by calling 414-672-1353.

Soujourner Family Peace Center
Sojourner is currently open and serving people impacted by domestic violence. Click here to learn more.

Suicide Prevention Hotline
608-280-2600 or 1-800-273-8255

Teens with Mental and Behavioral Needs
Mobile Crisis Line: (414) 257-7621

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