A Plea to Teens and Parents: Talking about Mass Shootings

Whitehaven Shootings
Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver

The recent shootings have been heartbreaking for families, survivors and the whole population. The desperation that many of the shooters displayed by shooting random, helpless people is appalling and frightening. But, doesn’t it make you think…do I know someone who could do this? Could I ever do this? And most importantly, why did these people reach the level of outrage to be able to commit this type of crime?

In the video below I have a message for teens who are feeling desperate and might need extra help. I also want to talk to parents and teens about how isolation can play into the rage behind the school, church and mall shootings.

A Video Message to Those Who Need Help:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywNVHI-0P74[/youtube]

It is easy, almost natural for us, as human beings, to feel lonely or discouraged when certain things happen to us. My main message to other teenagers who read this blog and perhaps a few that will stumbleupon this video on Youtube is: you are not alone, there is help out there for you.

For parents, if you think your teen might be feeling isolated, unfortunately, the more you push to get closer to them, the more they pull away. I think it is really important to explain the following concept to teens and then, let them know that if they need help, and cannot talk to you, there are other places they can go.

***The Concept:*** Everyone, everywhere has really, really low points. This is just a point in time, it will pass, and to make it pass, we all need to find our ‘something’ that pulls us back to hope, reality or happiness.

There are moments trying to start a business, dealing with stressful family situations and having fights with friends, where this idea keeps me going. What I mean is, I know that when I am feeling depressed, anxious or upset I have to take a night that’s just for me and write in my diary, get a cup of large ginger tea, have pad thai for dinner with chocolate banana for dessert and put on a face mask and do my nails. It sounds silly, I know, but these are five or six things that make me really happy on the inside (venting in my diary) and on the outside (doing my skin and nails).

Its taken a few years to perfect it, and I only recently discovered the joy of chocolate covered bananas, but after a night like this I always feel a little better—this is not an immediate fix, but it helps me get back on track. Now, I realize that many people have more serious issues and not everyone can feel better with a face mask or their favorite dinner, so I have listed a few other resources that I think all teens and parents should know are out there in case they feel really alone.

1. Other People: Friends, other family members, teachers, school counselors, coaches, mentors, colleagues. These are all great people who could help your teen feel like they always have a connection. I know it is hard, but teens sometimes need someone else to depend on other than parents, and it can be good for parents to foster another positive relationship in a teen’s life. This can also be YOU for another teen—ever thought about becoming a mentor? If you are an adult, and have met a teen who you feel needs support, then tell them you are there for them. If we support each other, hopefully people will not feel desperate enough to lash out to get attention.


2. Helplines and Therapists:
Here are a few great places to get help:

-Suicide Prevention Hotline 877 727 4747
-Yellow Ribbon Hotline 800 273 8255
-Safe Alternatives 800 366 8288

If you ever feel lonely, a therapist is always a good option to get professional help, especially if the depression or feelings come from a chemical imbalance.
3. The Internet: There are great communities of other teens, parents, therapists where teens or young adults can ask questions meet other people in crisis and even help others. Also, I would like to keep my door wide open, if any teen ever needs help or someone to go to I am more than happy to talk to you or give you some information for help.

– www.yellowribbon.org
– www.teenlineonlie.org
– www.selfinjury.com

Overall, this is a very sensitive issue and my condolences go out to the families that have suffered in the recent tragedies. I do not know all of the solutions, nor all of the aspects of this deep issue, but I think that if we show compassion and care for those around us…even those we might not be close to, then people will not feel so isolated, alone and angry.

Please, send this video to as many families or teens who might need to hear that they are not alone, that there is help out there and they can get through low points.

Dream big, work hard and you will get there.
Vanessa

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Tags: School, Health, and Teens

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