What role does mental illness play in school shootings?

Jan 20, 2020

Next month marks the second anniversary of the horrific Parkland school shooting. This tragic attack sparked an intense national debate over how best to protect our children from school shootings.

Over the past decade, new laws have purposed and enacted in an attempt to prevent these mass causality incidents. Unfortunately, this legislation has missed the mark by neglecting to focus on the role of mental illness in certain types of firearm-related violence. Mental health problems have now been recognized as a ‘risk factor’, studies show that the majority of school shooters have led particularly stressful lives with many experiencing childhood traumas such as physical or emotional abuse. 

What are we doing to help those suffering from a mental illness in schools?

Kai Koerbar is a survivor of the Parkland school shooting, following the deliberate attack, shared his views on the link between gun violence and mental health. In April 2018, he founded the Societal Reform Corporation – a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting mental health programs in schools. These programs teach students of all ages to “mitigate emotions, relax, learn and grow as human beings.” The curriculum teaches mindfulness exercises to help channel positive energy and mitigate negative emotions.

Kai has continued to grow the Empowerment Curriculum, working alongside neurotechnology companies to create devices for focus, relaxation and guided meditation. The hope is that all schools across the US will begin to implement mental health training for students and teachers.

Although security is important, ‘prevention’ entails more than security measures and should be considered long before a shooting takes place. Following on from the Post-Parkland School Safety Legislation, The Florida State Board of Education pave the way as they approve new safety requirements – sixth to twelfth-grade students will now receive five hours of mental health awareness and assistance training each year which equates to more than one week of training!

The new initiative is a response to the continuous rise in school shootings across the US, educators, and lawmakers are beginning to see the importance of providing mental health services in schools. The newly required instructions include awareness signs, symptoms, prevention of mental health disorders, information on how to access treatment or resources and instruction in what to do or say to peers struggling with mental health disorders.

Here at TyTek Medical, we aim to prevent loss of life in a mass causality attack, we are dedicated to providing pre-hospital emergency supplies that educates, equips and empowers you to assist in an emergency incident before professional help arrives.

Learn more about our essential, single-use pre-hospital trauma equipment here.