Not all wounds are visible.
The trauma the children at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School experienced did not end with the last bullet fired on that ghastly day in Parkland.
That’s when it begins.
The unrelenting gunfire pierced many more than those wounded or killed in that tragedy. For hundreds of others who witnessed the unimaginable carnage but were not physically wounded you can be certain the shooter pierced their hearts and minds.
Many endured weeks or months of nightmares, anxiety, depression, and hypervigilance. A smaller group developed psychiatric illness like PTSD and substance abuse that can linger for decades. But all of them will be changed forever. The victims are not just those whose lives perished in the shooting. They are those that survive too.
The aftershocks of the Parkland shooting tragedy continues to reverberate.
Two Parkland shooting survivors have now committed suicide in a week. We must do something.
Thoughts and prayers do not help trauma victims.
Support is essential. We need better mental healthcare for those who survive shootings and have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The National Center for PTSD estimates 28% of people who have witnessed a mass shooting develops PTSD and 1/3 develop acute stress disorder.
This is a national emergency.
This is about our children’s future. All our children have absorbed these shootings, informing them that life is not safe.
This is the world they grew up in. These are kids who have never gone to school in a place where gun violence was not normalized and that is no longer acceptable.
We have failed the Parkland students.
They are our future. Let us ensure that they have one.
Tragically on the very day this was posted, our hearts are shattered once again. Even as we still mourn the death of the 2 Parkland survivors, we learn that Jeremy Richman, the father of a Sandy Hook victim died as a result of suicide. A neuroscientist, he founded the Avielle Foundation in his daughter’s name that studied the brain and violence.
In the U.S., the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.