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Sandy Hook and What You Can Do Now
January 10, 2013

Many wonder if the tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School will become a tipping point for action related to gun violence prevention and mental health services. PCPA has begun to hear political and community conversations about both issues. For now, providers may wonder what they should or can do while the debate goes on. Some actions that may be considered include those below.

Community and Child-specific Monitoring of Children Affected by Tragedy

  • Help educators, parents, and other child-serving members of the community minimize the potential for post traumatic reactions; share what signs and symptoms to look for to know a child may be experiencing emotional distress.
  • Promote projects such as the Academy of Pediatrics’ Bright Futures initiative that calls for primary care practices to conduct routine behavioral health, developmental, and social-emotional screening of all children and teens.
  • Promote school-based social-emotional screening and the Student Assistance Program to identify and refer children that may be in need of behavioral health services when concerns first arise.

Community Education About Mental Health

  • Support efforts to educate and train adults, teachers, coaches, clergy, child welfare workers, and other through programs such as Youth Mental Health First Aid.
  • Support efforts to educate and train the community about stigma, facts about mental illness, helpful responses, and the truth about mental illness and violent behavior. The adult Mental Health First Aid training is one tool. Information is also readily available from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Mental Health America, and other advocacy and support organizations.

Gun Violence Prevention
Project ChildSafeĀ® is a nationwide program is to promote safe firearms handling and storage practices for all firearms owners through safety education messages and free firearm safety kits. Kits include a cable-style gun-locking device and a brochure discussing safe handling and storage practices. The program was developed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms and ammunition industry. Project ChildSafe reminds gun owners to properly store firearms and make certain that firearms are not casually accessible to anyone, especially a child. Gun owners or community providers concerned about gun safety in homes of can get a safety kit from participating law enforcement partners in many communities. Information about Project ChildSafe and police and sheriff departments partnering in this program can be found at www.projectchildsafe.org.

Say Thank You
PCPA is grateful to educators, case workers, therapists other professionals who know there are risks and danger, know children and families that need their skill and devotion, and then chose to be of service each day. Just say thanks!

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