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Mass Shootings

A healthy mind is a healthy world

Cartoon by Julie Han

Cartoon by Julie Han

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After the traumatizing mass shooting that occurred in Las Vegas, the American people have been left devastated. Killing at least 59 people and injuring 500 others, gunman Stephen Paddock’s ambiguous motive is still being investigated. How can someone possibly plan to murder hundreds of innocent lives? But more importantly, what can be done to prevent tragedies like the Vegas Strip Attack?

Such events have been spreading like wildfire in recent times. Our politicians simply remain complacent, telling the American people to offer silence and mourn the loss. But rather than prayers and tears, what we need most is immediate action. As unconditional as it may sound, we, as students, are capable of taking the initiative and perhaps setting an example for our current government.

Although the motive of these mass shooters is unclear, it is certain that their mental health must not be up to par. Reports suggest that approximately 60 percent of perpetrators of mass shootings in the United States displayed symptoms including delusions, acute paranoia, and depression since 1970. However, the assumption that mental illnesses causes gun violence stereotypes a diverse population of people diagnosed with psychiatric conditions and simplifies the complex connection between violence and mental health. With such little statistical evidence, it cannot be proven that mass shootings are a result of mental illnesses. Rather than shifting the focus from gun control to mental health, it is important to acknowledge that community-based mental health programs and other measures will help with the overall functionality of our society.

One way we can spread awareness of these mental health issues is by getting involved in different organizations. At Uni, we offer Mental Health club, in which members hope to break the stigma surrounding mental health issues and bring awareness throughout the school and community. Each week, members discuss mental health issues that pertain not only to themselves, but to the world. The annual Directing Change filmmaking challenge also helps encourage youth to speak up against mental health issues. The website, www.directingchangeca.org, provides a plethora of resources under the “schools” page for students to expose themselves to mental health issues and create a change in their schools.

Another great organization you can join outside of school is Teen Line, a teen-to-teen hotline for teens going through a crisis. Through an intensive training session, student volunteers learn about the different mental health issues that are prevalent in today’s society and the different ways to handle life-threatening behavior. By a simple call, text, or email, teen volunteers are able to talk to people who just need a teen to talk. It also provides plentiful community resources that can aid in saving a life.

Although some may argue that mental health is merely a scapegoat to the central issue of gun control, students can play a crucial role in preventing homegrown tragedies in the long run. When  we week to learn about the problems that people face everyday, instead of considering it a taboo, our future generations will be more inclined to reach out for help and receive the proper care they deserve. Mental health is surely not the main and only factor to gun violence, but it is indeed something we can work towards addressing together.

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The student news site of University High in Los Angeles, California
Mass Shootings