CORAL SPRINGS (CBSMiami) – Broward County mental health providers, parents and students have been swinging into action over the past couple weeks.
They are reacting to the recent suicides of two Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students.
There have been a series of meetings addressing how to deal with those who are having issues in the wake of the Parkland massacre.
On Wednesday, mental health professionals and Parkland parents met with the goal of setting objectives.
“Our goal today is to continue putting together a plan to educate parents on how to help their children,” said Max Sachachter, whose son Alex was killed during last year’s shooting at MSD.
A town hall was also held at Coral Springs City Hall and in addition to mental health experts, some elected officials, school employees and members of the Coral Springs Police Department will be on hand to offer support and information.
“The Florida Initiative to Prevent Suicide brings material so others can educate themselves, maybe understand plus prevent,” said Harry M. Rosen, who works with the nonprofit. “We team them the signs of potential suicide so they will speak up.”
A panel of experts spoke at the town hall meeting and answering questions from the audience.
“I came away with some good information to approach my grandchildren,” said attendee Margie Hassan. “Both of them are at Stoneman Douglas. One was there on February 14th.”
“As a trauma survivor and a person who had suicidal thoughts, I think it’s important to have these conversations,” added attendee Gretchen Rovira.
Also at the town hall were a number of organizations who can provide help, resources and information on how parents, students, teachers and the general public can deal with a traumatizing event such as a mass shooting.
“We try to deescalate what is going on,” said Judith Thony with the Smith Community Mental Health Organization. “We give them the signals [and] signs that they can look out for.”
A message that was repeated at the meeting: You’ve got to get those affected and in distress to talk about it, with it being whatever has traumatized them.
“Connecting with other people, that’s the starting point,” said Dr. Judith Aronson Ramos with United Broward Professionals. “You can’t force something on people, but you can open doors.”
Help and informational links:
The Columbia Lighthouse Project: http://cssrs.columbia.edu/the-columbia-scale-c-ssrs/cssrs-for-families-friends-and-neighbors/
Florida Initiative for Suicide Prevention is Here to Help! https://fisponline.org/
Your first call for help: https://211-broward.org/
Tomorrow’s Rainbow: https://www.tomorrowsrainbow.org/
Children’s Services Council: https://www.cscbroward.org/
Also, if you or anyone you know is in suicidal crisis or emotional distress, help is available.
Here are some important suicide prevention hotlines:
(305) 358-HELP (4357)
National Suicide Prevention
There is free counseling and confidential support available 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.