Mental Health Support Can Reduce Violence

Mental Health Support Can Reduce Violence

By: Judi Karp
Associate Dean, SINAI Schools

I got in the car after school and with a sense of dread, turned on the news station. It was just a few days after the Nevada Middle School shooting and I needed my daily dose of traffic reports to make it home.

I soon heard that there was another violent incident in a Middle School in Massachusetts and my heart sank. A Middle School student stabbed a 24 year old beloved teacher and dragged her body into the woods behind the school.

Lately the tragic stories of senseless acts of violence seem to occur on a daily basis.What is going on? Is it the ubiquitous exposure to violence that has caused the increase of violence in the schools? Is the increase of violence across society at large? What about the young woman in Washington DC who was shot by police with her young daughter in the car. How did that happen? What mother would knowingly expose her child to such danger?

Last night’s story was of an immigrant whose frustration that others had accomplished more than he had led to his stabbing his cousin and her four young children.

We are a society of fast moving achievers. The pace of our world feels faster and faster with the daily onslaught of emails, tweets and information. Family lives farther away and the lack of the simple yet vital support of community and family leave many isolated. The healing properties of silence and solace do not seem to reach too many of us.

We have become a community with too many frustrated and angry people. The common thread in these shootings is that these people are in distress and need mental health support. We take our children for well baby check ups, we go for our annual tests, but the mental health community has no such standard. We need to find a way to monitor mental health as seriously as we monitor physical health. People are suffering and we need to help them before it is too late.