We join the nation in mourning the loss of 17 lives and injury to 14 others in Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

In response to this and other tragedies at a school, many children, teens and young adults have questions and concerns. There are excellent resources online for children, families, school personnel and clinical professionals. One specific resource is the National Child Traumatic Stress Network website. It has a wealth of information on helping others cope effectively. 

Please check in with children and teens on this topic. This is a good time to discuss personal safety plans as well as a general safety plan if something dangerous or scary is happening at home, school or elsewhere.  You should talk about the importance of following instructions from teachers and parents. Many lives were saved by heroic teachers in Florida.

Feel free to contact Counseling & Recovery Services children’s departments with questions or requests for support at 918.236.4140. When youth ages 10-17 are in an emotional, behavioral or substance abuse crisis, the CALM Center is open 24/7 to help. The phones are answered 24/7 at 918.394.2256.

Truth about mental illness and violence

When there is an incident of mass gun violence, mental illness is routinely discussed as a likely cause. Most people suffering from mental health issues are not violent. The continued linking of violence and mental illness falsely labels people and keeps others from seeking help.  Studies show violence is associated with other factors even in children and adolescents.

Finally, one way to combat the darkness is to spread the light

Mark Twain said kindness is the language the blind can see and the deaf can hear. How profound is a single act that has the power to brighten and even change a life? It would be amazing for each of us to do something positive for someone to honor the lives lost in Florida.