Alexandria, VA – Schroeder Stribling, president and CEO of Mental Health America, issued the following statement today regarding the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in the town of Uvalde, Texas:
“Again today, we are a nation in shock and mourning. The mass murder of 19 children and two teachers in their classrooms in Texas has us gutted with grief for the parents, the caregivers, the families, and the wider Uvalde community.
“It was difficult to watch the image of a desperate parent running toward the civic center where families waited into the night for answers – I cannot imagine the anguish. Every parent has a story of a momentary terror. For three minutes 19 years ago I could not find my daughter in a crowded park – it seemed like an eternity. It was not. It is, however, for the parents of 19 daughters and sons in Uvalde.
“Today I speak as a leader in the movement to protect and improve our individual and collective mental health. Physical and psychological safety are necessary conditions for mental health – this is the foundation of ‘Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.’ When our distress and divisions become extreme, our basic well-being is at stake. When our children are afraid to go to school and parents are afraid to send them, our daily mental health is at stake. When violence in schools and mass shootings are commonplace, our national identity as people of compassion and reason is at stake.
“As advocates, we know the numbers and understand the impact of trauma. As researchers, we supply policymakers at all levels with actionable information on the crisis in youth mental health. As humans who value life, we know that basic safety is fundamental to our mental health. As Americans, we align with the growing majority who favor action to protect public health and safety – including tighter controls on access to weapons.
“We need moral courage to meet this moment. We need the fortitude not to look away from the traumatic scene playing out on the stage we have set for a generation of youth at risk. We do not need another day like yesterday.
“Our hearts are with the people and families of Uvalde. Our thoughts are with fearful parents and children across the country wondering what to say? and where is safe?
“If you are in need of someone to ask those questions of as you grapple with this massacre today and in the days ahead, support is available, in both English and Spanish. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Disaster Distress Helpline provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress at 1-800-985-5990. Child Mind Institute, National Association of School Psychologists, and MHA resources can help you have conversations with children about what they are seeing and hearing.
“If you are in crisis, you can reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (1-888-628-9454 para español) to talk to a trained listener or you can reach Crisis Text Line (in English or para español) by messaging “MHA” to 741-741.
“You can also find support from your local MHA affiliate here.”
About Mental Health America
Mental Health America (MHA) is the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and promoting the overall mental health of all. MHA’s work is driven by its commitment to promote mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, including prevention services for all; early identification and intervention for those at risk; integrated care, services, and supports for those who need them; with recovery as the goal. Learn more at MHAnational.org.