A LIFETIME OF SUPPORT FOR SANDY HOOK by Dr. Henry Paul, MD

Just the mention of “Sandy Hook” conjures up memories of that horrific day two years ago when 20 children and six educators died in a shooting at an elementary school in a quiet Connecticut town. That was a horrific day for Newtown, CT, the United States and the world. So many of us watched with horror as the tragedy unfolded, and we grieved along with the first responders, the school staff, the community, and the families. This time of year, as the anniversary of the shooting is upon us, so many of us think about Sandy Hook. Sadly, two years after the shooting, information is emerging about the numerous mental health issues that plague parents, children and other victims of the tragedy. Last week the Associated Press ran a story looking at the emerging mental health issues two years later. In “Mental health problems still emerging, 2 years after Sandy Hook school shooting” Beth Hegarty, who survived, tells what it has been like for her and her daughters over the past two years. Many of those suffering since Sandy Hook are dealing with mental health issues ranging from anxiety to sleeplessness to depression and substance abuse to PTSD and a sense of being alone. Marriages and jobs are suffering, too. Traumatic life events like Sandy Hook often leave victims tormented by memories and emotions that sometimes come-and-go and other times never leave at all. Dealing with severe trauma – the kind that can last a lifetime – is not easy. The healing process is based on an individual’s constitution, the degree of support in the environment, and treatment. How can we help? Recovery can be bettered by reaching out to individuals we know who are suffering and by implementing programs that can reach out on a community-wide basis, too. Since Sandy Hook, there have been millions of dollars donated to counseling programs, and numerous organizations and government agencies have set-up long-term programs, but more will be needed. If you want to make a donation this holiday season why not consider Sandy Hook. Here are a couple of links you might want to consider: Sandy Hook Elementary School Victims Relief Fund This is a fund started by a former Sandy Hook Elementary student to gather support for the victims, families, and all others affected locally by the tragic shooting. Newtown Community Fund The fund itself is a memorial. It’s not a plaque or a statue or even a building. It’s an ongoing remembrance that provides care and support for those directly affected today, and for the entire community, for the long term. Thankfully, those who keep Newtown on their radar are making sure that programs and counseling will be available for a long, long time. The kindness of so many will go so far! DISCLAIMER Information contained in this blog is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended as medical or psychiatric advice for individual conditions or treatment and does not substitute for a medical or psychiatric examination. A psychiatrist must make a determination about any treatment or prescription. Dr. Paul does not assume any responsibility or risk for the use of any information contained within this blog.