Focus on mental health care after Connecticut shooting
December 18, 2012 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- While some are calling for more gun control laws after the shooting, others are calling for more access to mental health care.
At one Chicago facility, phone calls have increased since the shooting from parents looking for help for their children. In recent days, more parents have called on the Erikson Institute for help with their child's potential developmental or mental health issues.
"They have more concerns about their children's safety, but also about the larger issue of mental health support in our society," said Erikson Institute's Dr. Margret Nickels.
Dr. Nickels is the director of Erikson's Center for Children and Families. She says the violence at a Connecticut school has some local parents looking for ways to spot potential problems in their children.
Dr. Nickels says changes in behavior -- like extreme aggression, shyness, impatience or clinginess -- that last for more than a few weeks is a signal to call on a professional.
"You cannot clearly explain what precipitated the child's change in behavior," Nickels said.
AT UIC's Institute for Juvenile Research, Dr. Carl Bell says it is critical to offer a young person a way to deal with hurt feelings that can prevent acting out in anger.
"You talk with them, you model for them when you are hurt or you are mad, you don't take your anger out based on your hurt, but you address your hurt," Bell said.
While there are still many details unanswered about the young man who committed the murders before killing himself in Connecticut, Dr. Bell says children with developmental or mental health issues need more even support.
"Let's welcome them, even though they make us a little nervous, even though they don't quite fit in," said Bell, "and let's make sure they've got social emotion skills."
Both of the professionals ABC7 spoke with Tuesday say there are often signs of potentials problems before a child is 7. The good news is, they say, protective factors and a circle of support around the child can allow that child to reach his or her full potential.
Parents with concerns are encouraged to reach out for help to a pediatrician, a school counselor or another professional.
local, leah hope
- LIVE Coverage of Nelson Mandela Memorial
- Temps dip to 18-year low, more snow on the way 16 min ago
- Northwest Side fire displaces 5 54 min ago
- ABC7 Weather Forecast
- Bears fans brave frigid temps at Soldier Field
- Waukegan police search for suspect in sex assault
- Mom wants justice in toddler's dog death
- Sen. Kirk undergoes gall bladder surgery
- Stained-glass exhibit opens in Chicago pedway
- Illinois man charged with animal cruelty defends actions
- $100M investment proposed for Gary Airport
- Tilting tourist attraction may come to Hancock Center
- Vaccinate Illinois Week kicks off to promote flu shots
- abcnews: Most Popular Gifts: 2013 vs. 1913
- Temps dip to 18-year low, more snow on the...
16 min ago
- Obama urges world to act on Nelson Mandela...
24 min ago