Some kids love to go back to school, they have lots of friends and socialize well! They love the ritual of new sneakers and new pencils; they rebound from disappointments and defeats and learn from their mistakes, in class and on the playground. Some kids have a more difficult time. They may be shy, they may not fit in with the crowd, they may be different somehow. . . Some children hate going back to school.
We need to pay attention to our children, we need to be mindful of the ones who don’t fit in; in grade school, middle school, high school, college and beyond.
Children and adolescents who feel isolated and alienated are often lonely, sad and sometimes, angry and volatile. They all grow up. They grow up and very bad things can happen when their mental heath needs are not diagnosed and treated.
We need to make young people’s mental heath a priority, because for some, back to school is Back to Stress, Peer Pressure, Bullying and Performance Anxiety. This desire to fit in with a group doesn’t change as we get older.
If we could cheerlead our community’s mental health with as much gusto as we cheer for our sports teams, club teams and celebrities we would go a long way toward eliminating the kind of violence we have seen so much of the last few years.
Dylann Roof, Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church South Carolina, 2015. 9 dead.
Elliot Rodger, UCSB, 2014. 6 dead, 14 injured. Shooter commits suicide.
Adam Lanza- Sandy Hook, 20012. 28 dead. Shooter among the dead.
James E. Holmes-Movie theater screening Aurora, Colorado, 20012. 22 dead, 58 wounded.
Seung-Hui Cho- Virginia Tech, 2007. 32 dead. Shooter commits suicide.
“The FBI found that education environments were the second-largest location grouping for active shooters, totaling 39 incidents at K-12 and institutes of higher education from 2000 to 2013” ( Washington Post).
Maybe if someone—a teacher, a parent, an Aunt or Uncle, or family friend— had intervened; maybe if these shooters had been treated or hospitalized, this terrible legacy would never have begun. Because sometimes, those who didn’t fit in during childhood, grow up to commit atrocities as adults.
Let’s be mindful not just of ourselves, but of one another, for yes, when it comes to mental health, we are each other’s keepers.