STANFORD, CA—Hoping to raise awareness of a frequently stigmatized and misunderstood issue, experts at Stanford Medical School’s Department of Psychiatry And Behavioral Sciences concluded Friday that the earliest warning signs of declining mental health usually include a compulsion to cross one’s eyes while dribbling a finger across one’s lips and repeating “cuckoo, cuckoo.” “We have found that most people aren’t immediately able to spot these symptoms in their friends and loved ones, so it’s important we inform people of these precursors to the most common mental disorders,” said Dr. Victoria Perez, who noted that early warning signs also include the wearing of underwear upon the head, the flapping of the arms in the manner of a chicken’s wings, and the insertion of one hand horizontally into one’s shirt while insisting that one is, in fact, the Emperor Napoleon. “Though this behavior can be heartbreaking—even disturbing—to witness, it’s important to remember that if you ever observe a friend or family member’s eyes rotating in different directions, hear them making boing-boing sounds as they dance around the room, or notice their toupée shooting vertically off their head, spinning around, and then landing crookedly on their scalp, it’s time to take them to the nearest mental health institution to have them jolted with electric shocks until you can see their skeleton glowing through their silhouette.” Perez noted, however, that a hands-off approach often worked best for cases in which deluded relatives believed themselves to be chickens, particularly when the family was in need of the eggs.

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