The 15th anniversary Sunday of the Columbine shootings coupled with a recent stabbing attack at a Pennsylvania school is a stark reminder that parents must keep a close eye on their children and act on any signs of mental illness, according to one health professional.
“Fortunately, our schools are very safe places, and the incidence of these types of attacks are relatively rare,” said Victor Fornari, MD, Chief, Department of Child/Adolescent Psychiatry for the North Shore-LIJ Health System. “However, parents and teachers both should be aware of any changes in a young person’s behavior and not hesitate to seek help if needed.”
While Dr. Fornari noted that the beginnings of a mental health disorder present differently in every person, the key is to watch for a change in daily functioning, whether it be in school activities, chores around the house or social activities.
“Parents have a unique understanding of their child’s behavior,” said Dr. Fornari. “The important thing is to listen to your child. And if something is wrong, don’t hesitate to ask for help.”