A group of concerned citizens and health professionals gathered at the Brown County Library to view the film “Kids in Crisis” Underwritten by Bellin Health. Following the film, a panel of mental health therapists took questions from the audience. One response consisted of the need to intervene with therapy at the earliest stage of development when the issue is identified. The need continues into middle school, high school, college and beyond. Another therapist identified the lack of insurance coverage for many people. But if the students get to the college of Green Bay, the therapy is free.
With increased suicide rates in Wisconsin and across the country, the focus on mental health is of a dire need. According to Rep. Joel Kitchens,” suicide rates among teens in Wisconsin is sharply higher than the national average.” Kewaunee County is fortunate to have a psychiatrist on staff which is shared with Door County.
This past week, another school shooting occurred. Two students enraged by being bullied, one because of his small stature, the other because of being transgender, just wanted to kill. A young man was killed as he tried to tackle the shooters. All of his dreams were lost in that instant. Another young teenager jumped into action, even though he was shot in the leg. He successfully disarmed one of the shooters, but not before his friend died. Every radio and T.V. announcer and politician expressed their sadness and prayers to the families who lost their child or was wounded and then continued with the next news story. Those words fall on deaf ears to the parents who lost their child or was wounded.
Adults and young students came to the school to attend the vigil for the fallen student. As the students realized the event had turned political and focused on gun control, they walked out in protest. They had not been allowed to speak, but as they left didn’t yell anything about gun control. No, they yelled Mental Health Mental Health. They hoped their cries would be heard by school officials and politicians that have the power to support more mental health programs and services in the schools. They want therapy for the likely perpetrators and the high stress levels the young deal with every day.
Schools, churches and businesses, have slowly recognized the need for stronger security measures. The students have not asked for their teachers to carry guns, but to secure the school entrances and to install monitoring cameras. These measures are slowly being put into budgets.
The pain and rage of the perpetrators were not recognized, at least not soon enough to prevent the loss of life. The student that led the walkout stated,” some students feel that politicians are too far removed to understand students fear that it will be their school next.” Some schools are hiring Mental Health Therapist while others have contracted with health facilities that employ mental health therapists. As adults, let us all speak louder and hear the cries of the students “Mental Health, Mental Health
Submitted by Donna Thomas, Luxemburg, Wisconsin 54217, 920-366-4134