Gun violence at schools is one of the most horrific acts that can cause so much pain. Targeting children in school mass shootings is heartbreaking and traumatizing. One can never truly recover after witnessing such horror.
According to the school shootings database, at least 185 children and educators have been killed in school shootings since the 1999 Columbine massacre. It leaves behind hundreds of young children traumatized and grief-stricken. Let’s examine the broader impact of gun violence at schools, such as its effects on mental health.
Students that witness and survive mass shootings tend to suffer tremendously. Studies show that survivors develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, substance abuse disorder, and many other conditions.
For example, some survivors have to live with survivor’s guilt. It is a mental condition where somebody who has lost people is experiencing stress because they survived, and others did not. Students who share survivor’s guilt experience flashbacks or nightmares of the tragic event, are angrier and more irritable and have trouble moving on.
Many children who suffer from PTSD require antidepressants to function. Other studies show that deteriorating mental health can lead to suicide and accidents, like in the case of the 1999 Columbine High School mass shooting.
Mass shootings can damage one’s mental health on many levels. For example, they may avoid going to places, become hyperalert, and fear leaving the house. These are some signs they might exhibit indicating they might need professional support.
Some people worry about mass shootings, while others go numb from the endless cycle of violence they experience. People experience and grieve in different ways regarding mass shootings. Some people become desensitized and experience what psychologists call the deadly arithmetic of compassion.
In other words, people don’t feel any more shocked when a mass shooting happens than when one child gets murdered. Some people shut down when they know a situation is out of their control, which is called ‘psychic numbing’.
Anxiety and Panic Attacks
The stress of massive shootings puts a heavy toll on today’s youth. Their mental state is attributed to gun violence. Children who are afraid that a shooting can happen at their school suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. More so, this makes them unable to attend school, so they skip classes. In addition, this can potentially lead to fewer children graduating. Teachers are less likely to teach at a school where a mass shooting happened because of mental health deterioration.
Children living in a world of active shooter drills at school are more likely to suffer anxiety, leading to further problems like the inability to learn. If you or any of your loved ones experienced a mass shooting, it’s best to hire a mass shooting lawyer to hold people accountable for their actions. While you cannot undo these tragic events, you can prevent further ones.
The devastating effects of mass shootings make ripples across many people’s lives, from the survivors to the victim’s families. Therefore, it’s salient to provide the affected communities with mental health services and support to make it through these extreme events.