Gun Control: Mental Health is Real

By Kevin Thomas
Writer, Contributor 

School shootings are becoming more and more common.  Lives are lost, tears are shed, and the media is left repeating the same phrases: that the event is a tragedy; it should have been avoided, thoughts and prayers, etc.  Many media outlets blame the NRA, with some even suggesting the second amendment be abolished (which would cause more harm than good). It seems to me that a more obvious element is being ignored: mental health.

According to Atlanta-based neuropsychologist Lynda Boucagnani-Whitehead, PH.D, one solution would be to place “school-based teams where people could voice their concerns so they could start to offer services to help the student”.  She believes increasing the number of on-campus psychologists and other professionals would make it easier to identify and defuse potential threats. As well, those professionals should be allowed to alert the proper authorities if they believe their patients present a potential danger to themselves or others.

I spoke with Rusty Morris, owner of One Target Gun Club in Peachtree City GA.  An ex police officer, Morris stated that background checks completed through the NICS only denies the purchase of a firearm if the individual has been arrested or has a restraining order, not because of mental health concerns. When asked how he would resolve school shootings, Morris said, “Politicians don’t have the will to put the money toward stronger security.  The reason you don’t see someone shooting up a senate building is because they have strong security”.

I believe that both Morris and Boucagnani-Whitehead are correct: School security should be increased, but those schools also need to start taking their students’ mental health as seriously as their test scores.  Academic engagement is vital to the growth of children and young adults, but they won’t be able to focus on schoolwork if they’re afraid that their school, their community, and their lives could end at any minute.  In my opinion, the way to stop school shootings is twofold: Increase security to deter potential shooters and place as much emphasis on their mental wellbeing as their academic.

5 thoughts on “Gun Control: Mental Health is Real”

  1. Kevin, I totally agree. Security and mental health treatment, reporting and effective follow through by parents, guardians, counselors and police agencies when deemed appropriate. What would the warning signs be, do you think Kevin, to escalate from counseling to police action?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sunriversusan, I think warning signs would be: if the individual feels socially cut off or isolated, is bullied, and has an obsession with guns and violence. Also, if a person has a history of violence towards people or animals or consistently posts violent artwork on social media or elsewhere. These things aren’t bad individually, but if someone is going through all or most of them, it would be appropriate to involve the police.

      I agree with Dr. Lynda in that there needs to be a team of people at school who students can go to if they think someone is a potential threat, utilizing the Baker Act to do so.

      If you have any further questions, please post them here. Thank you for your engagement, and keep supporting The Bold Opinion.

      Sincerely,

      Kevin Thomas

      Like

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