In the wake of the Florida high school shooting, where 17 students were killed and 15 injured, there has been an increase in the need for mental health treatment for children and adolescents. According to Newsweek, the February 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has made children feel unsafe and has lead to “an increase in the number of children being admitted to Florida mental health treatment facilities.” The Miami Jackson Behavioral Health Hospital, which “usually operates with two-thirds of the 40 beds unoccupied,” has been at or near capacity since the shooting. Fort Lauderdale Hospital has been at capacity and has even had to turn patients away or refer them to other facilities. In response to the tragic event, the American Psychological Association released a statement that recognized the need for youth counseling and support:
Excerpt - “Tragically, our nation is once again confronted with a school shooting, which has cut short all too many lives and forever affected so many others. We must take concerted action as a nation to ensure that our schools are once again safe havens for our children and youth. In this time of shock and grief, psychology and psychologists can offer those in distress the comfort, guidance and counseling they need to maintain resilience in the midst of such profound sorrow.”Similarly, Divine Mercy University’s President Fr. Charles Sikorsky and Academic Dean Suzanne Hollman, Psy.D., spoke on the appropriate actions to take during such tragedies during their appearance on “The World Over” on Eternal Word Television Network. They also shared tips on how to recognize signs of someone who has a common psychological problem, including social isolation and significant change in behavior. At this point, the Parkland shooting is now among the 10 deadliest mass shootings in modern U.S. history, according to a recent CNN report. Though American security forces may not be able to predict such catastrophes and legislators may not institute flawless laws to diminish the number of mass shootings, the power to heal the wounds of the mentally disturbed is in the hands of therapists, counselors and psychologists. Learn more about the psychology and counseling programs offered at Divine Mercy University to find out how you can counsel people who have mental health challenges.