Mental health professionals know that traumatic events occupy our minds, quite literally, in ways that can derail lives and stress families at their foundations. And when the trauma is as horrible and incomprehensible as the 12/14 shootings at the Sandy Hook School, the long-term impact on individuals, families, and even the community can be particularly acute.
Jill Barron, MD, MHS, has been quietly ramping up plans to conduct a critical needs assessment of mental health and support response since arriving in Newtown in late February. But the experienced trauma specialist who worked with New York firefighters post 9/11 made her first local public appearance, receiving an official welcome when she was introduced to the Board of Selectmen March 18.
Hartford seems poised to hurry up and do something. This reminds me of a quote I heard years ago: “good politics rarely results in good policy.” Better laws always address cause rather than effect. Any good policy begins with defining the problem, gathering evidence and identifying causes. Only then should solutions be evaluated/developed.
Regarding Newtown’s school tragedy and “psychotropic drugs,” there is a better solution, given the fact that “some 75 percent of these shootings” have been committed by children in school, as a psychologist working for the state was quoted in the Danbury News-Times.
As a Newtown mother, I have come across e-mails warning me of multiple pieces of proposed legislation being presented in our state at this time. What shocks me most of all is the fact that they affect all public and home school families, yet not one parent that I have spoken with has heard of them.
There was a great thunderclap of consensus in the days following the 12/14 attack on Sandy Hook School that something has to change. The crime, which left 20 first graders and six school personnel dead, was so shocking and so wrong that the calls for action were immediate and widely supported across even the yawning political divide in this country. The inquiries into what and how much change would be possible began quickly, and soon focused on three areas: gun control, school safety, and mental health.