Your faced with that defining moment where a student threatens to do the impossible and you can't stand there and do nothing. Your adrenaline kicks in and you must act on instinct. Your brain stops processing and your heart starts pumping. That is what happens to almost all of us...but in this situation.... the teacher did something different....he hugged the gun-toting shooter. A little love went a long way! That does get us thinking about long-term mental health.
We can start resolving some of these problems before they become an issue by thinking about mental health and health plans. While a hug may save the day today it may do nothing tomorrow. A student that is unsure of what he/she is doing might be willing to hug but one that is bent on causing pain on others might not be so responsive. Its time for us to think about a better long-term approach.
It takes a lot of insight to understand that this teenager wants recognition for his/her pain but has never received any help. With the proper skills that teenager might have came forward and asked for help, someone would have cared enough to step in years ago, and this problem would have never existed in the first place! The root to this stems way back in chronic failure to love.
As a man of science, I seek to understand so we can find solutions to these issues long before they become issues. We are in a bigger world and lost many of our social connections. With a loss of social connections comes a lost of empathy and with that....we have a perpetual problem. Without a more effective mechanism we need to rely on insurance companies to better cover mental health services and that in turn create more problems of cost and plan management.
It will be a political mess to even think about......
Mental health in this country is a big concern. Our experts think they understand it but often mislabeled, skip over, misjudge, and mishandled these issues all the time. Many of the people in our prisons are suffering from mental health issues that if they would have dealt with a long time ago would ensure they are productive members of society (Yes there is a cost to not rethinking mental health and its relation to prisons).
What we might do....
1. Get experts together and start formalizing what the essential root of the problem is and the potential solutions
2. Develop better national guidelines and encourage legislative change when appropriate.
3. Encourage health insurance companies to consider adding better mental health coverage.
4. De-stigmatize mental health. People who need the help don't often ask for it.