Sad as it is to say, school shootings are an all-too-familiar occurrence in the United States today. Young people cut down with most of their lives still in front of them. These horrific events are a tragedy for parents, teachers, administrators, and whole communities.
In the rush of emotions after a school shooting has occurred, much attention has been given to the issue of gun control as a way to prevent future tragedies. While the political debate over stricter gun laws rages on, the truth is that the issue of school shootings is complex and multifaceted. And one key factor that is often overlooked in discussions about school shootings is mental health.
While not as politically potent a topic as guns, mental health is critical to understanding the nature of those who carry out school shootings and prevent such incidents from happening. In fact, according to a report by the National Council for Behavioral Health, more than 60% of perpetrators of mass shootings in the United States have a history of mental illness. Therefore, careful attention must be paid to the mental health—especially the mental health of the student body.
While the issue of mental illness can be a challenging road to go down, tools are available to help—and hopefully stop a tragedy like a school shooting before it starts.
Because of the modern cultural stigmas attached to mental illness, many people (especially young people) are hesitant to seek treatment for issues due to the fear of being labeled as “crazy” or “unstable.” Hesitancy to get help can lead to mental health issues worsening over time and manifesting in violent behavior against targeted individuals or an entire community.
To address the stigma, it is important to promote a culture of openness and acceptance when it comes to mental health, including in a school campus setting, where stigmas about students can be broadcast all around campus through rumor and social media. This means making mental illness education a priority in school policy, strongly encouraging individuals to seek treatment when needed, and providing appropriate resources.
Some school-age children who suffer from mental illness are just kids who are still figuring out who they are. They need the guidance of a counselor to help them work through their issues. Others have more severe disorders that require the assistance of trained psychiatric professionals.
The availability of mental health services in schools, as well as in the larger community, is an essential preventative measure. By making mental health services more accessible, those struggling can get the help they need before their condition worsens.
A Comprehensive Approach to Prevention
There is no one solution to the issue of school shootings. But mental health is critical in understanding and preventing school shootings. By addressing mental health as part of a comprehensive approach, we can work towards preventing future school shootings and creating a safer environment for students, teachers, and administrators.
The ShieldCampus system’s organizational, training, and communication modules aid in facilitating your school’s comprehensive violence prevention program. The system has an entire component dedicated to mental health monitoring and uses AI technology to assess potential cases before they become more serious. We understand the great care needed to get young people into mental health treatment and have developed a way that is warm, approachable, and proactive.
Click here to find out how ShieldCampus can help you protect and serve your students.