Just as the Holiday season was getting into full swing, the nation seemed to come to a standstill as we learned the horrible news. On December 14, 2012, 20 children and six adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT were killed by a mass murderer.
In the days that would follow, the nation would be overwhelmed by images of candlelight vigils, distraught friends and family members of the victims, and first hand accounts from the surviving children. Later on, we began to learn more about the lives of the children who died as well as the courageous staff members who fought to the end to protect the children they cared so much about.
And now, the national discussion has turned to debating mental health care and gun control laws. PBS aired an excellent series which looked at these issues from many angles. Despite differing viewpoints, those with strong opinions on either side of the issue all want to know what can be done to prevent another tragedy.
We may never know the full mental health history of the killer. However, learning to recognize early warning signs and encouraging treatment are, perhaps, steps in the right direction towards preventing events like the one that occurred in Newtown.
If you are having trouble managing the distress caused by this tragedy, consider these suggestions from the American Psychological Association.
As Newtown continues to grieve, I can only hope that in time, all of those affected by this tragedy may find peace.