It is extraordinarily difficult to wrap my head around the events of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I have heard stories about heroism and fear, strengths and weaknesses. The one thing that I know is that we need resources to try and prevent this from occurring again.
I hear that the Lanza family knew that their son had significant difficulties. Were they addressed? We can never be absolutely sure if and how they might have been. I am sure that this will be investigated but it is after the fact.
It was made clear that the Lanza family has sought help. What is absolutely needed is a resource for free and confidential mental health services for individuals and families.
We have 911 for emergencies, 311 for complaints and community information services, and 411 for telephone numbers, etc. I also looked at 211 connected to the United Way where people could give and get help. I think there should be a number just like this for individuals and families to call and get immediate assistance. Good Morning America previously profiled a family needing urgent assistance for their daughter and were struggling to find it. Individuals and families needing this assistance should have it, no question about it. Will this prevent future incidents like this? Maybe? Mental health has become such a topic of discussion after this horrendous tragedy. I think that there should be access to competent mental health service providers that individuals and families could reach out to when they have questions about behaviors or where to go for affordable help. Every health care provider should receive an e-mail, certified letter and telephone call to alert them as to where to go for assistance. Just think of how the world might change if mental illness were addressed in a supportive way and early on, not just when something happens. I recently wrote a blog about an article in Advance “Study Examines Parental Behaviors That Create Anxious Children.” I, kind of, indicated that the “Apple does not fall far from the tree.” Well, while that may be true [or not], we still need to support the family of this child or adult presenting with a disability. In my opinion, no baby should be released from the hospital without the parents going through some training on the mental health of the baby, as it grows, and themselves. Sorry to put a damper on things but that precious child needs to remain precious in your eyes and supported through every bump in life. I am not saying that we should infantilize our children and not hold them accountable for their own behavior; we need to learn how to respond and where to get help when we need it. Unfortunately, this incident has already occurred and we cannot go back. Let us honor these victims and let this be the stimulus for change.