Pooling mental health resources for children in Uvalde
(NewsNation) – “Monkey” was the word of U.S. Senator Chris Murphy who recalled children running loose in class following the fatal 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 27 dead.
It was the student safety word, used to get the attention of teachers and counselors when memories surfaced of what is believed to be the deadliest shooting at an American K-12 school. Although parallels have been drawn between Tuesday’s shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and the Connecticut massacre a decade ago, the healing process for survivors will be different.
The fourth grade class where a gunman sprayed bullets indiscriminately was celebrating one of the last days of school. Their emotional recovery in the immediate future may be more independent, but as surviving students and staff separate for summer vacation, the community is pooling mental health and crisis resources.
“It is our duty as elected officials to evaluate all possible ways to make our schools safer to prevent future tragedies and ensure that communities across the state – be they underserved populations in major cities or rural areas of the state — have the mental health resources they need,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott said Wednesday.
Shortly after the shooting, the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District announced a plan to connect the community to mental health services. School counselors were available at all campuses and surrounding community counselors were accessible through the local civic center on Wednesday.
Shauna Moore Reynolds is a Mental Health Counselor and Director of Clinical Education at the Washington DC, Chicago School of Professional Psychology campus. She’s also from Texas and said she knows “help is on the way.”
Reynolds spoke with mental health workers in the Uvalde area, who said professionals near and far were joining forces.
“When there’s a tragedy or something that happens in our state – whether it’s a hurricane or a tornado or whatever – we tend to pull together and make sure those resources are available to everyone,” he said. she declared. “You’ll see a lot of social workers, you’ll see a lot of psychologists and psychiatrists coming out and volunteering their time to make sure everyone is okay,” she added.
The impact of Tuesday’s shooting doesn’t end in Texas.
In addition to local services, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shared the number for its Disaster Hotline (1-800-985-5990), which provides immediate crisis advice by phone or text. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has also compiled an online list of resources available for families and schools.
“You may feel anxious or depressed because of something that happened miles away,” she said. “So it’s OK to share those feelings you have.”
Nearly 2,000 miles away in Newtown, Conn., Tuesday’s shooting was all too familiar to families who survived Sandy Hook.
“Having lived through a mass shooting, still enduring the pain of our own children being killed in their first grade classrooms by senseless violence, we know nothing will bring back the precious lives lost in Uvalde,” the anti-guns said at fire. violence nonprofit The Sandy Hook Promise said in a statement. “We know the road ahead for the Robb Elementary School community will be incredibly difficult.”
If you or someone you know is considering harming yourself, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free assistance at 1-800-273-8255. As of July 16, 2022, US residents can also be connected to Lifeline by dialing 988. To learn more about risk factors and warning signs, visit the organization’s official website.
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