77° Good Afternoon
77° Good Afternoon

Letter: More focus, money for mental health

In this Dec. 14, 2013 file photo, balloons

In this Dec. 14, 2013 file photo, balloons fly outside a doctor's office on the first anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre, in Newtown, Conn. Newtown officials are applying for a federal grant and charities are pooling their resources in an attempt to ensure that free mental health care remains available to those who need it following the December 2012 massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. Credit: AP / Robert F. Bukaty

Immediately after the Dec. 14, 2012, shootings in Newtown, Conn., mental health experts offered tips to speechless parents about how to soothe their children ["Report: Sandy Hook killer enabled," News, Nov. 22]. The advice sounded like this: Be available emotionally, be compassionate, limit media exposure, reassure safety, offer distractions to prevent obsessive worry, monitor for angry outbursts and depression and, if symptoms persist, seek professional help.

I imagine many parents were thinking, instead, "It's a cruel world, evil is everywhere, watch your back, and don't trust anyone."

After the Sandy Hook shootings there was probably not one parent in the United States able to escape the tyranny of imagining his or her child being killed in a neighborhood school. How many more children will be taken before lawmakers devote energy and resources to safeguarding our children?

Take steps to prevent gun violence -- within the constitutional right to bear arms -- and provide adequate funding for community-based mental health centers for the emotional well-being of all of our children.

Andrew Malekoff, Long Beach

Editor's note: The writer is the executive director for the nonprofit North Shore Child and Family Guidance Center in Roslyn Heights.