Our Future

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We experienced another tragedy recently in Isla Vista, California at the Santa Barbra City College. We’ve all heard the story of Elliot Rodger and most of us that have seen the story on the news have seen his “retribution” video.

I’m not going to get into the fray over gun rights.

I’m not going to delve into Rodger’s misogynistic mind-set.

What I would like to discuss is the need to address what has become an epidemic in our society. These types of occurrences are happening much too frequently. We can no longer turn a blind eye and say, “This will never happen in my community.”

It is my firm belief that we need to begin teaching about mental health as early as possible. Our children are our future. Teaching about mental health should be just as important as physical health. It is only if we eliminate the stigma associated with mental disorders and educate our youth that we will be able to see a change in the horrible direction we are headed in.

We also need to provide mentors for our at-risk youth. Too many of our children lack good role models, not to mention just someone to give them the attention that they deserve.

I may be preaching to the choir. But you the choir member have a voice. Talk to your local educators, legislators and community leaders.

Every time I watch the news and hear a crime story that has the term “mental illness” mentioned I hold my breath. My heart breaks whenever I hear of a life that has been taken. Something must be done. We can no longer be silent.

Will you join me?

About the author
Karl Shallowhorn is the Education Program Coordinator for the Community Health Center of Buffalo. Karl has been living with bipolar disorder since 1981. He is a New York State Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor and has worked in both the addictions and mental health fields for over 17 years. Karl is the author of Working on Wellness: A Practical Guide to Mental Health. He is a certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor and also works as a mental health consultant for organizations across New York State. Karl has provided a variety of mental health-related seminars and workshops for conferences, schools and businesses on the local, state and national levels. Karl serves on the Board of Directors for the Mental Health Association in New York State, the Mental Health Association of Erie County, the United Church of Christ Mental Health Network, as well as the Erie County Mental Hygiene Community Services Boardand the WNED/WBFO Mental Health Advisory Council. Karl has received numerous awards for his advocacy efforts in his professional career.

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