What a horrific tragedy; not only for the families involved, but for all of us! The loss of life, the loss of potential, the loss of hope is awful.
It appears that now, more than ever before, our young people are hurting and are acting out in ways that are unimaginable.
What can we do to help these hurting young people before they hurt others?
I think one thing that would be great is if we required every school aged person to go through a mental health screening just like they are recommended to do an annual physical.
If this could be seen as a normal and expectable process to ensure overall physical and mental health, I think it may help people get preventative help before the tragedy in their lives or others occurs.
We agree with that National Association of the Mentally Ill (NAMI) that mental health screenings should be a key requirement for our young people because early detection and intervention can save lives (theirs and others)!
Approximately 50% of chronic mental health conditions begin by age 14 and 75% begin by age 24, yet many people aren't diagnosed with mental health conditions until much later in life.
So, what can we
do as parents and caregivers? If you suspect your child is under abnormal stress or not coping well with his/her life you can request a mental health assessment from your child's primary care provider or counselor.
You can also set an appointment to speak with one of our providers at Doorways, where we always offer a free consultation to hurting parents.
Not sure about whether you should call? It's better to be safe than sorry. I know this is a complicated and multifaceted issue, but to have a full screening by a mental health professional is a very good start to prevent tragedy.
Just call and we'll give you our honest assessment of your situation and what actions are appropriate for you.