Mental health experts urge getting help after Greenwood dad tries to drown infant daughter

GREENWOOD, Mo. -- A six-month old baby rescued from a Greenwood pond Monday remains at Children's Mercy as of Tuesday night. Greenwood police say the baby, despite being treated for hypothermia, is getting better.

Jonathon Zicarelli, the baby's father, faces a domestic assault charge in the incident. Zicarelli has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Jan. 7.

Police in Greenwood say Zicarelli walked into the police station Monday and claimed to have drowned his infant daughter. First responders miraculously saved the baby who had been in the water for more than 10 minutes.

Now, police and health providers are urging people to seek mental health care -- no matter how severe their symptoms are.

"Don't be afraid," said Lt. Aaron Fordham with the Greenwood Police Department. "A lot of us are crisis intervention team trained, and we have special training that gives us kind of a fast track to helping people get in touch with resources out in the community."

Zicarelli told deputies he had "bad" thoughts. Court documents say he wanted to make it easier on his wife and was stressed out due to the holiday and trying to provide for the family.

Mental health experts say thoughts like that are more common than you think.

"Definitely any type of increased stress, family tensions, anything like that are going to be what we call 'vulnerability factors' that will make you less likely to handle increased stress," said Katherine Jackson, a licensed professional counselor with Truman Medical Center's Behavioral Health Services.

Jackson said because of the stigma surrounding mental health, some people avoid confronting their thoughts.

"Part of that stigma is, as a society, we're uncomfortable talking about homicidal ideation," Jackson said. "It's not an uncommon symptom of underlying mental health issues and should be seen as kind of a red flag. That doesn't mean you're a crazy person or anything like that."

Jackson said for anyone to be less stressed during the holidays, they should know their triggers and plan ahead to manage then and avoid them. Treatment for negative thoughts can include medication, psychotherapy and learning coping skills.

"It's a sign that something is going on. You're getting to a point where you really don't know how to handle what's going on, and there are professionals who can absolutely help you manage that and hopefully make sure you don't hurt yourself or someone else," Jackson said.

If you need help, here are some agencies you can call in the metro.

  • Johnson County, Kansas, Crisis Line: 913-268-0156
  • Missouri (Jackson, Johnson, Cass, Lafayette, Platte, Ray counties) Mental Health Crisis Line: 1-888-279-8188
  • Wyandotte County, KS Mental Health Crisis Line: 913-788-4200
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