SHELBY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A Shelby-area woman is dead and her 10-year-old old son was hospitalized in grave condition after the mother shot the boy then turned the gun on herself, the Oceana County sheriff said.

It happened around 6:45 a.m. at an apartment complex on W. Baseline Road near S. Oceana Drive in Shelby Township, north of the village of Shelby.

A family friend called 911 after hearing gunshots in the home. Deputies arrived to find the unidentified 38-year-old woman and son were shot in the head.

“The mother had passed away from her injuries and the son was suffering badly from his,” Sheriff Craig Mast said.

The boy was taken to the local hospital and then airlifted to one in Grand Rapids.

Mast said mental health problems on the part of the mother appeared to have led to the shooting. Friends told investigators she had been suffering from depression.

“But as is so often the case, these mental health issues remain quiet to much of us until they rear their heads in this fashion,” Mast said.

Murder-suicides attempted by woman are rare. A study by the California-based nonprofit Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma shows 91% of murder-suicides are committed by men. Alcohol is a likely factor in many of the cases committed by men. Many of the small number of woman who commit murder suicides are found to have mental health issues, according to the study.

Regardless of sex, Mast say the mental health crisis has hit Oceana County just as hard as other places, large or small, and treatment options in the rural area are limited.

“We’ve got a lot of people who are in jail who are suffering from mental health issues. Especially in a small, rural community like ours, the jail becomes the catchall,” Mast said.

But to get someone the help that is available, the first step is recognizing the problem. The sheriff says the “see something, say something” slogan is just as important to responding to mental health problems as it is to stopping crime.

“Call 911 and let us know if there’s a crisis going on in this family and that somebody needs help,” Mast said. “There’s a crisis hotline available. There are other resources available besides just having a police officer come.”

Help is now just three digits away: The new Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is up and running and will direct people to the resources closest to them. The number is 988.