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Active Shooter Incidents and Student Mental Health
Both inside and outside of school, gun violence continues to impact the mental health of children and teens. An estimated three million children in the U.S. are exposed to gun violence each year — at school, at home, and in their communities. -Exposure to violence has significant consequences on students’ mental well-being. According to Everytown for Gun Safety, children exposed to violence are more likely to:
- Abuse substances, including drugs and alcohol
- Suffer from anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder
- Face difficulties in school, including behavioral and academic challenges
- Engage in criminal activity
Active Shooter Incidents & BIPOC Mental Health
The epidemic of violence perpetuates inequities in children’s mental health. Gun violence disproportionately impacts students of color. Black and indigenous youth already face a higher risk of depression and anxiety due to the chronic stress of systemic discrimination. Despite this, Black children are half as likely as their white counterparts to receive mental health services.
Active Shooter Incidents & Rising Anxiety Levels
While school shootings are only one type of violence faced by America’s children, students are becoming increasingly fearful of an active shooter incident occurring at their school. The fear of gun violence is having its own impact on mental health: one cohort study of 2,263 high school juniors and seniors found more symptoms of anxiety and panic associated with the rising incidence of school shootings.
The Role of Educators in Active Shooter Prevention, Response and Recovery
Documentation and early intervention regarding low-level safety concerns is an alternative that allows educators to get help for individual students before potential violence occurs. Many school shooters exhibit changes in behavior and appearance prior to an active shooter incident that can be digitally captured by school staff. While 78% of school shooters have a history of suicidal ideation, only 34% have had a mental health evaluation. Using software to document low-level concerns could get more students in the pipeline to receive mental health services before they turn to senseless acts of violence.
How Software Can Help Schools Address Low-level Concerns
Oftentimes, behaviors or observances may not seem concerning as a single instance, however when others have similar encounters with the student and they are all documented in a central, secure place, we can easily see patterns and a need for early help and support for the student.
To help improve student outcomes. StudentSafe™ offers a highly intuitive platform where you can obtain a holistic view of individual students’ wellbeing. When your school staff have a full picture, they are in a better position to collaborate with the student and caregivers and make decisions in the student’s best interest. Helping each student thrive also keeps your transfer rates low, your completion rates high and drastically reduces threats of harm to self and others.
Guide to K-12 Student Wellbeing
Strategies to Recognize, Document, and Support Students in Distress