In the aftermath of the mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, the national discussion must begin as to the issue of mental health in America. Unfortunately, when it comes to the issue of mental health care in America, we get what we pay for. There is not proper funding for this health concern, and, in large part, treatment is not even sought due to the stigma attached to the term. But, it does not begin and end with funding. It starts with parents.
So many parents see their children as ‘perfect’ or ‘special’, which is quite natural. That is where it seems that denial sets in for some. There are untold numbers of parents who either get help for their children or seek help for them when they begin to see warning signs. However, it seems as though the parents of the mass shooters in recent history, were either in a state of denial, or so detached that they failed to see the warning signs. And, too often, in place of getting them the help they need, those children are pulled out of school and remain in the cocoon of the home where the parent and the child feel safe from the truth. For the most part, parents know when something is just not right, but the refusal to face it or accept it can go so deep to the point that help is neither sought nor accepted. Moving forward, parents should be trained from the birth their child as to recognition of signs and/or symptoms of mental illness which can be spotted in childhood, and this training should continue throughout high school. And, it should be mandatory, with parents having to sign that they understand and have read the informational documents. Then, there are the parents who seek help, but, cannot afford it. And, if they cannot afford it, many just do not qualify for care because they make too much money. Hopefully, that may be about to change.
When parents see those red flags, difficult as it may be, they must accept those red flags, and immediately seek help for their children. And, if help is not forthcoming, they should swallow their pride and shout from the mountaintops that they want help for their child, and be determined, persistent, and tenacious until that help is received. The shooter at Sandy Hook elementary was pulled out of school by his mother. It did not help him or anyone else.
- Developmental Delays: When You Sense Something Wrong (education.com)
- Warning signs parents should look for in violent kids (kjct8.com)
- Denial (ireport.cnn.com)
- Help for parents dealing with child behavior problems (fox6now.com)
- Challenges of having child with mental illness (kfor.com)