When Mental Illness Becomes Deadly
Over the past week, I have seen numerous stories on the news about last week’s deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Sadly, 17 people lost their lives and 14 people were wounded in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Of the 14 children who were killed, four were Jewish, and one of three teachers killed was Jewish.
As I continued to watch the coverage, I saw footage of makeshift memorials along a fence line. There were numerous crosses, along with four Stars of David. In that moment, people were grieving together, regardless of religious affiliation or background. They connected through the tragic loss of life, and attempted to comfort each other through the sorrow and confusion of what had happened.
Several people in our community sadly have connections to those who died. People have been meeting one-on-one and in each other’s homes, trying to come up with solutions that would prevent such a tragedy from happening again. I even received suggestions in response to last week’s email from the CEO of the Jewish Federation of Broward County.
JCRCs across the country and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) have also been exploring what can be done to stop mass violence from occurring. In addition to gun control, a common theme that keeps coming up is the recognition and treatment of mental illness in our country.
We, as an organization, are working on putting together a forum to discuss how we can help people recognize when mental illness is becoming dangerous, and what we as individuals can do to notify the proper authorities. The forum will consist of healthcare professionals and law enforcement. As we work collectively toward Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) I hope you will consider joining us for this important discussion. We will keep you informed as details about the forum become available.