INDIANAPOLIS – Mental health is at the forefront of many local parents’ minds following the string of school shootings in recent years.
Monday’s shooting at Michigan State University ended with three lives taken and five others hurt.
It happened just one day before the five-year anniversary of the Parkland, Fla. shooting, which left 17 people dead.
“Unfortunately, that is happening more and more often and I think it absolutely creates some anxiety,” said Community Health Network Counselor Kimble Richardson.
Richardson said active shooter situations can be detrimental to students’ health.
“These kinds of situations can cause acute distress which means right now in the moment, or it can trigger stresses or anxieties or fears from the past,” said Richardson.
He said both situations usually do not go away on their own.
“It is important now more than ever that we take care of our mental health, reach out to people, and seek out professional advice or support if you need it,” said Richardson.
One Indianapolis father, who did not want to go on camera, said he drove to MSU on Tuesday to pick up his daughter. He said the campus was eerily quiet and that it felt like people were still in shock.
Richardson said tragedies can often change a parent and child’s relationship.
”I think it is very natural for parents to want to have even more contact with their child even though they are young adults,” said Richardson. “And for the student or the young adult, two things, hey, my parents may have extra concerns and they may want to reach out a little bit more. Also, personally, the students is saying I want to have more contact with my folks and that is okay. It is healthy.”
Owner of Goodes Security Consulting and former special agent with the Secret Service in Indianapolis Roger Goodes said there are ways you can ease your mind.
“We do this every day in certain parts of our lives like driving,” Goodes said. “We follow the rules. We see when a car is going too fast and you slow down, or you see children playing on the side of the road and you slow down so you prepare for these things to happen.”
“We just need to expand these things further in our lives. So when you do go to a mall or some of these other places where these horrific events have occurred that you have some sort of a plan,” he said. “Talk to your friends and family or whoever you are with so if god forbid something does happen you know how to respond.”
Goodes said to be aware of your surroundings always.
“I don’t want people to be paranoid either these are just simple tasks you can run through your mind and then you can go on to whatever you are doing.”