Today’s school shooting and the importance of mental health

I can’t think of anything else today except for the tiny, innocent victims of the school shooting in Newton, CT.  I’ve found tears come more easily than words as I listen to the news, Obama’s speech, and the press conferences updating everyone on what happened. I can’t fathom any of it – the grief, the pain, the questions, the frustrations and more that family members must be feeling right now. My heart is broken.

As the debate about gun reform laws rears its head again, as it always does after such tragedies, I can’t help but think that mental health is even more important than gun control. Details about the shooter aren’t out yet, but as they become available I would be willing to bet that there were clues along the way that he was suffering. Someone will talk about the behaviors that led them to think that something wasn’t right. Maybe they tried to do something to help, but maybe they didn’t. So, I urge you: if you know someone who you think is suffering, reach out to them. Help them find help. It is our responsibility as friends, siblings, children, and humans.

Don’t know where to start? I suggest checking in with the National Institute of Mental Health – they have a wealth of resources and information on their website alone.

Give your family an extra big hug tonight, and stay safe.

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4 thoughts on “Today’s school shooting and the importance of mental health

  1. For me, the bigger question is when exactly people in this society took the turn from internalizing their pain to taking their mental instability out on innocent people. Lots of people are in pain…when did it become an acceptable idea, even to the afflicted, to take it out on everyone else? I don’t mean to sound insensitive. I have been plagued by anxiety disorder since I was roughly 7 years old, so I feel for people who are suffering a mental illness or disorder…but I feel for those poor babies in that school more. And I know plenty of people who are patients in the mental health care system, but would probably put their own eyes out with hot pokers before ever doing something like this. This whole thing is just incomprehensible. I don’t know that gun control OR mental health reform is the answer.

    • It’s such a complicated territory, I agree! The answer is not, by any means, able to be boiled down to one answer, but I think if we can find a starting point as a society – a place to begin understanding exactly what you said – why would someone feel that they have a right to take it out on everyone else? – we will be better off in the future. If someone wants to hurt themselves only, well that’s not a good option either, but it’s better than opening up in an elementary school.

      • I agree. I’ve felt it even more fiercely since I had a child, but in regards to family annihilators, if feel similarly: if you hate you life so much, take yourself out, not your wife, your kids, etc etc… I just feel so helpless, especially when children are involved. 😦

  2. Trish says: here is a link for handouts for adults/parents – tragic beyond words

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