School threats and their impact on student mental health

MICHIGAN – Bob Sheehan says the past two and a half weeks have been tough for teens in the state.

“When school shootings are far away, it’s hard enough for kids, but when they realize this was a Michigan location and the Oakland County people are sitting in their backyard, especially when they’re old enough to realize,” says Sheehan.

From the Oxford High School shooting that killed four teenagers and injured seven people to the wave of counterfeit threats that followed, Sheehan, who heads the Community Mental Health Association of Michigan, says there is a lot to deal with.

READ MORE: 15 year old suspect charged with murder and terrorism in Oxford High School shootings

And children should process these emotions.

“If you feel anxious, excited, or worried, that’s normal. And let’s talk about it, ”says Sheehan.

He says that any radical, sudden change in a child’s behavior that lasts beyond a few weeks usually indicates that something may be wrong.

He suggests that parents or other adults actively listen but understand that a child may not want to say much.

“Just talk to them and say, ‘You seem worried,’ or ‘You seem sad,’ or ‘You seem calm,’ not in a reprimanding way, but in a ‘How are you? Are you alright? ‘”

If professional help is needed, Sheehan points to each county’s community mental health program, but says schools offer it too.

Locally, the Muskegon Intermediate School District says numerous grants and partnerships have enabled them to hire dozens of professionals like Vickie Swanson over the past several years.

“We see a lot of students asking good questions,” says Swanson, school climate and culture coach at Muskegon ISD, “and they ask, ‘How do we know we’re safe? do anything to protect us? ‘”

She says that since the beginning of the month they have been providing threat assessments and recommended resources for whatever they can to help the schools. She encourages families to find what they need.

“We want students to be healthy,” adds Swanson, “and we know that when they feel valued, they feel heard and heard; they will increase that mental wellbeing. “

Additional resources:

Directory of 46 Michigan Community Mental Health Centers serving all Michigan counties.

FOX 17 / screen

Psychological crisis lines in the visual range of FOX 17

Additionally, the resources on the Michigan Stay Well website designed to aid Michigan mental health cope with the pandemic are also very solid resources for dealing with responses to the Oxford shootings.

Here is a solid collection of resources to help children, youth, adults, families, educators, and community members deal with the trauma and recovery from the Oxford shootings.

As for the counterfeit threats, dozens of children across the state are now being charged.

Prosecutors urge parents to speak to their children and bring home the fact that it is not a joke.

Read More

READ MORE: How to Support Families Affected by the Oxford High School shootings

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