End gun violence by teaching mental health

End gun violence by teaching mental health

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Nathan Jacquart started this petition to U.S. House of Representatives and

Let’s get inordinately real for a moment. We are all tired of the cycle of gun violence that has manifested over the last several years. A shooting where lots of innocent people die happens and then we fight about it for a few weeks until we get frustrated by neither side budging on gun control and then we move on until the next event... All the while these acts of terrorism continue. Whether it’s a shooting, a bombing, a mass stabbing...it’s all fueled by hatred and rationalized by twisted motives.

We all want this to stop.

While gun control remains a fight that ends in hitting a wall where neither side is willing to budge, both sides agree that mental health is something that needs to be addressed. After all hatred is a complex emotion and something that, if we’re honest, we all deal with and at times need help with. Some more than others. As such it seems that we should move in the direction we are all in agreement over and implement changes to help foster an environment of mental health in our country; and there is no place better for this then in schools.

So this is the proposal: we increase funding to education in order to hire more counselors as well as adding mental/emotional health as a part of student curriculum. Similar to Physical Education, Emotional Health could be a part of everyday curriculum for elementary school students as much as classes for high school students as the reality is that it is in our formative years that we most need help in learning how to handle how we feel. As how we feel can have a significant effect on how we think, make decisions and act. Which all effects how we develop.

Now, as things are some schools do not have even one counselor as some share a counselor that bounces between multiple schools. Teachers have to make a request to bring that counselor in to talk. In other cases we have multiple counselors but they are only by appointment and they aren’t utilized very often in reaching out to the students about having their emotional and mental needs met or addressed. These are just a couple examples of how some schools work but there is definitely room to do something more interactive and at the same time more stable for the students. As for the question of where to find more counselors it seems there are many college grads with psychology degrees they currently cannot use as the jobs just do not yet exist. The resource is out there it just needs to be tapped.

As for the funding to make this happen or provide those jobs we may just have to take an increase in taxes... I know that doesn’t sound appealing but if I can again get very real, the government is probably not going to foot the bill here. Even though it could be argued that it’s their job as it’s on their watch that these shootings and such are happening, they’ve illustrated time and again that they aren’t actually on our side as they’d probably cut social security or something else that helps us rather than let senators and such take a pay cut... Honestly though, it’s a small price to create safer and healthier communities even if it’s an investment and not an immediate fix.

It is a sound investment though, as research has already shown that adding emotional health into elementary curriculum has a profound effect on classrooms. Violent acts drop dramatically. What’s more is groups like Cure Violence, started by Gary Slutkin, have illustrated that engaging violent people directly can help stop the flow of violence as it spreads throughout a community. The facts are clear that this can work if we give it the opportunity to, and I believe we can all agree that we want this change. So it’s worth whatever cost we may face and it is something we can do right now to begin bringing this epidemic to an end in our nation.

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