Today, NAMI Massachusetts mourns the continued unnecessary loss of life due to gun violence. It’s hard to comprehend the level of senseless violence that has occurred in this country over the past few days. Shootings in Buffalo, Southern California, and Texas have splashed across the headlines and have brought us all sorrow and anguish, but this cannot be compared to the pain that families, parents, siblings, friends, and communities feel at the death of a loved one, pulled from them in such a pointless way. Together we mourn the loss of lives and stand in solidarity with those who have lost loved ones, experienced an unimaginable trauma, and must now endure such profound grief.
As a prominent mental health organization in Massachusetts, NAMI Mass is aware of the conversations around and about mental health in the wake of these violent acts. The mental health of our students, children, families, and teachers is of the utmost importance. Students and teachers are experiencing continual, heightened levels of trauma as they prepare for acts of violence in a place meant for safety and learning. NAMI Mass shares the below resources for those dealing with the trauma of gun violence. We hope these resources provide useful tools on how to cope with or process gun violence. We know that the trauma of exposure to continued violence may take a lifetime for children to heal from. These resources also provide ways for parents and teachers to help their children and student’s cope.
- The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) offers parents guidance on helping their children after a shooting. This fact sheet describes common reactions children may have, how parents can help them, and self-care tips after an event
- The San Diego County Office of Education offers resources for Educators on how to discuss school shootings.
- Sesame Street offers printable books and coloring books for parents, teachers, and mental health professionals to use when working with younger children who are dealing with traumatic experiences
- Colorín Colorado offers tips for talking with children about violence with multilingual information and resources.
While NAMI Mass upholds the mental health of the individuals impacted by gun violence, we want to be very clear that mental health conditions are not a cause or predictor of violence. In fact, we know that those with mental health conditions are more likely to be the victims of violence rather than the perpetrators. As we’ve seen countless times, the primary issue here is about access to guns and how an 18-year-old was able to legally buy two semi-automatic rifles, walk into a school less than a week after purchasing them and kill 19 children and 2 teachers.
It has been almost 10 years since Sandy Hook, and we are still experiencing heightened levels of gun violence in schools. NAMI Mass supports stricter gun laws and urges our leaders to act swiftly in the face of violence. NAMI Mass is committed to ending the stigma and discrimination that people living with mental health conditions face and uplifting the voices of those most impacted by trauma. Again, we stand in solidarity with those impacted by the traumatic incidences of senseless violence across our country.