Please take a moment to share this post with friends and neighbors. It’s time to take action and I’m not talking about gun violence.
This is the time of year when I love to post something merry and holiday oriented. But right now, nothing feels right. As a former teacher and parent of four wonderful, now adult children, my thoughts turn to Connecticut and the suffering people in Newtown. They are trying to cope with their tragedy while keeping the Holiday for surviving children of this senseless massacre.
We all want to do something to stop the violence and we can.
I am not going to talk about guns.
There are things we can do that don’t involve laws or politics or differing beliefs. We can look at how to address the underlying cause of this problem, and address it locally, in our small towns and medium sized cities.
In his book Columbine, Dave Cullen drills into the personalities and problems of the two perpetrators of that tragedy. He, along with many researchers, has determined that we cannot profile mass shooters, but we can identify some key characteristics.
The one we can do something about on a very local level is clinical depression among young people. Cullen discovered that The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force estimates that 6% of U.S. adolescents suffer clinical depression. That’s 2 million kids!
Think about the size of your local middle school and high school. 6% of those kids are likely suffering from depression. Do the math.
Of course, every depressed child or adolescent doesn’t shoot up his school. But many resort to suicide. In my rural area, I personally know of 4 families that have been ripped apart by teen suicide in the past 20 years!
We can do something about adolescent clinical depression.
I’m pleased to say that you, my readers, are among the smartest, most resourceful people in your communities. You know how to get things done, and addressing this issue is something worth your time and effort.
Dave Cullen has provided links to resources at Teen Depression 101.
Reading his material and listening to him talk about his research indicates that this will take a village to address. Kids want and need our help, but the last people they will go to are their parents!
We cannot push this off on the schools and be done with it. The schools may be the focal point of a community-wide effort, but it will take us all to identify the children in need of help, and to make certain that the help is available.
Clinical depression is a terrible thing. It is not something that a child can “snap out of.” It is not something that a family can handle alone.
Please read through Dave Cullen’s material and talk to your local school about how you can get involved in identifying and getting help for clinically depressed kids in your community.
It’s the best Holiday gift you can give to your friends and family, your town and your country.