Sudden spurt in patient flow increases burden on mental health treatment centers

Sudden spurt in patient flow increases burden on mental health treatment centers

The United States has witnessed a steady rise in the number of mass school lately. Since 1999 when the Columbine High School massacre took place, a string of other mass school shootings followed suit. In fact, over 150,000 students, attending at least 170 primary or secondary schools in the United States, have experienced a shooting on campus since the 1999 Columbine High School massacre. These statistics does not include undocumented suicides, accidents, etc. due to the exposure to an incident as horrific as mass shooting.

According to a new Pew Research Center survey, around two-third population of the U.S. has lived in a household with gun. The entire concept of gun culture has become quite prevalent in the American society, with nearly three in 10 American adults owning a gun. Most gun owners consider possession of arms as their right, which is central to their freedom. However, the recent spurt in gun-related violence has shaken the entire nation, igniting a heated debate over gun control policies.

The anguish that engulfs family and friends of those who lose their lives in such senseless violence is insurmountable. The survivors of the shooting, including little children with a fragile and impressionable mind, are haunted for a long time by the memories of such incidents that played out in front of them. They have to deal with excessive and irrational fears and anxiety after the incident. No longer seen as a safe place, many kids refuse to make a trip back to their school.

Major consequences of the Florida Parkland shooting

After the recent deadly shooting on the Valentine’s Day at South Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, also referred to as the Florida Parkland shooting that left 17 dead and 15 injured, there has been an increase in the number of children being admitted to the mental health treatment facilities in Florida. These patients are mostly 12- or 13-year-old children suffering from anxiety, depression and fear.

At Jackson Behavioral Health Hospital alone, the children’s unit is running at or near capacity after the Florida Parkland shooting incident. This is despite the fact that around two-thirds of the 40 beds remain unoccupied during regular days. At other hospitals such as Fort Lauderdale Hospital, authorities had to turn patients away due to full capacity. On an average day, Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood sees between zero and six psychiatric patients. However, after the shooting, such visits have doubled to 10 or 12. Many of these admissions are involuntary, as parents and caregivers frantically search for ways to bring normalcy into the lives of their children who have been procrastinating after the incident.

An upside to this horrific shooting incident is the infusion of new funds to boost children’s mental health. Governor Rick Scott proposed a wide-ranging initiative to strengthen security. The new action plan includes $50 million in new funding for children’s mental health and a recommendation to establish a Department of Children & Families at the sheriff’s office across all the 67 counties to handle such cases.

Mental health is treatable

Whether such incidents are a result of the mental illness of perpetrator or the widespread American gun culture is open to debate. Along with rectifying the gun culture policy, it is important to treat the underlying symptoms of mental illness in the victims at the earliest to avoid such horrific incidents. By recognizing the signs and undergoing early treatment, one could perhaps help to avoid such eventualities.

If you or your loved one is suffering from any mental health issue, contact the Florida Mental Health Helpline to know more about the Florida mental health rehab center equipped with the state-of-the-art facilities and manned by trained professionals. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-846-5588 or chat online to get more information.

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