The root cause of the shootings means tackling mental health

Growing up in an abusive home meant school was a welcome and safe haven for me. That can be said to many kids across America, but if you’re not safe at home and you’re not safe at school, where do you go?

More than three weeks ago, a gunman opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Ovaldi, 38 miles from where I grew up, 19 children and two teachers were killed. As a parent with young children at school, I feel sad, sad and angry. Like many parents that day, and in the days that followed, I kept my kids out of school. As a congressman representing Uvalde, I know it is my responsibility to turn anger into action and grief into solutions.

What happened in Ovaldi, as well as what happened in other schools, will not be stopped by first aid. We must get to the root of the cause, and it begins with mental health, communication, and securing our schools and communities.

In the wake of the tragedy, disturbing details and warning signs about the 18-year-old shooter were revealed. His childhood and adolescence were marked by a parent who struggled with drug and alcohol addiction. School absences Cruelty to animals Spam messages and posts on various social media platforms; and patterns of aggression.

Related: Commentary: Go to Uvalde, find perspective

Had these telltale signs been recognized and addressed early on, we would likely have had one school shooting. We can’t know for sure, but resources in a disadvantaged region like Uvalde are known out of sight.

Often times, children are taught to suck it, and more often than not, adults think that children are going through a stage.

Texas Rank as the worst case for getting mental health care, according to Mental Health America. In all of the United States, there are be Only 595 psychiatric hospitals are operational, 73 of which are in rural areas, the Institute for Rural Policy Research reported in 2019.

Not all mental health conditions are severe, but some require extended treatment.

Since I was a candidate for Congress and through numerous visits to Ovaldi, mental health help has been a consistent local demand. As a member of Congress, she got $2 million to build a mental health facility, and when President Joe Biden visited Uvald, she asked him for $25 million to complete the project.

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We cannot put a bandage on this tragedy, or the tragedies of the past, and expect different results. We must focus on solutions that can prevent the tragedy from ever happening. Specifically, the Ovaldi shooter was never able to purchase a gun. Not because he was 18 years old, but because he was suffering from severe mental illness.