School Tragedy in Connecticut – Personal Thoughts and Professional Suggestions

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Upon hearing the horrific news of a mass killing at the Sandy Hook, CT Elementary School today, like you, my heart is broken and my mind reeling.  As a mental health therapist who specializes in working with young children and families, and as a new mother, it is difficult for me to fathom the unimaginable grief of the parents of the victims, survivors, first responders, and community at large.  What would cause someone to commit such a heinous act? I am trying to wrap my mind around how this could have been prevented.  My immediate suggestion for anyone intimately or vicariously connected to the tragedy is to seek professional help – whether it be a school counselor or mental health clinic – the best way to deal with trauma is to process your feelings in a nurturing, supportive environment as soon as possible.

It feels as if we hear about random acts of mass violence in the U.S. all too frequently ever since “Columbine” has become synonymous with the infamous school shooting in 1999.  <Note: http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/12/14/1337221/a-timeline-of-mass-shootings-in-the-us-since-columbine/ gives a detailed timeline of incidents since Columbine and  http://rt.com/usa/news/mass-year-people-massacre-710/ indicates that the Brady Campaign reported approximately 20 mass shootings per year with an apparent increase in 2012 so far.>  Since the mass shooting in Columbine by 2 troubled teenagers, change has occurred in terms of awareness regarding bullying.  New curriculum and policies have been established for many school districts across the nation.  We can only hope that this is yet another “wake-up” call for America to focus on the mental health needs of our children, who will one day either become healthy, high functioning adults, or god forbid one of the troubled souls who forever changes the lives of the innocent and vulnerable.

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