As I walked from my office towards the main campus of the elementary school on Friday afternoon, my friend sends me a horrifying text..."OMG! Shooting at an elementary school, 18 students dead in Connecticut!" I stopped in the middle of the hallway, my heart sank. I look up to watch as one of the Kindergarten teachers lead the students to the front of the building for dismissal. Who would do this? It must be a mistake! A drive-by shooting?
I could not believe it. Those poor little angels! Those families! This is not fair!
Every time something like this occurs, whether it is a high school, a university campus, a mall, or a movie theatre...our everyday lives are affected. These are places we go to where we and our loved ones are supposed to feel safe! Where we go to study, learn, de-stress, and enjoy time with friends.
However, what I see as a way to fix and avoid these situations, seems in my opinion, not to be the solution rather a bandaid. I am by no means pro-guns, but think of this: Guns don't kill people. People kill people. Did you know that on Friday, there were 22 children wounded as a result of a knife attack during the dismissal at a primary school? China is a country that prides itself in strict gun control, but alas, violence at a school still occurred! [click here]
In light of these events, my only request is to not focus on the right to bear arms or gun control, rather what do the suspects have in common? They all have a mental illness. Mental illness is a disease that is not very glamourous. You will not see heartfelt ads on TV, there are no televised fundraisers to end mental illness, there is no pretty face to give light on the issue and make something we can all understand. Rather, this is an illness that comes with a horrific staple: a mugshot, poor judgment/decisions, or innocent lives affected by their actions.
Let's think of this:
Do we know what kind of childhood they endured? Were their issues addressed? Did they receive adequate psychological services? Or were they denied services at some point because they didn't have insurance or benefits to pay? It's hard to tell at this point. There are a lot of factors in play and a lot to be considered.
I have worked in the trenches right out of college as a group counselor for mentally ill adults. I then worked in the mental health and substance abuse system that managed funding and heard of budget cuts first hand for agencies. Now I work in the school system doing what I've always wanted to do, work with children with special needs. The mental health and well-being of our children is truly important. We need to be teaching our kids coping skills and create a greater awareness for mental illness and mental health. Children do suffer from mental illness and this Huffington Post article gives light on the issue.
It's time to increase awareness on mental health.
To the Blog World and Anyone Else who Wants to Help,
On Friday 12.14.12, tragedy struck so many of us in ways we did not foresee. An elementary school and small town in Connecticut was shattered by a mass shooting. We knew we wanted to help and we came up with this:
On Tuesday, December 18th, there will be a blogger day of silence.
We will post the button and that's it. Please try to not post anything else that day if possible.
We are also raising money that will go to an organization in the memory of this tragedy. The organization is called The Newtown Family Youth and Family Services, Inc. Here is the official description of the support service we are donating to:
"Newtown Youth and Family Services, Inc. is a licensed, non-profit, mental health clinic and youth services bureau dedicated to helping children and families achieve their highest potential. NYFS provides programs, services, activities, counseling, support groups and education throughout the Greater Newtown area.
ANY DONATIONS MADE TO NEWTOWN YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES WILL BE DONATED DIRECTLY TO THOSE EFFECTED BY THE SANDY HOOK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL SHOOTING."
Please visit THIS PAGE or THIS United Way PAGE to make your donation.
We can't imagine how they must be feeling, especially this close to the holidays. We would love for you to spread the word on your own blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Let's make a difference and use blogging in a positive way. Thank you in advance for participating.
The Blog World