Talking to kids about stress, gun safety after multiple SWFL school threats

Reporter: Tiffany Rizzo Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:
Children walking down the hall of a Southwest Florida school. Credit: WINK News

Southwest Florida has seen eight school threats in only five weeks, and those are just the ones we know about. What’s going on with our children, and what can we do to help them?

Experts say stress is a major factor in a lot of cases they’re seeing. WINK News spoke with Ariella VanHara, the director of crisis services at the David Lawrence Center for Behavioral Health in Collier County. She says since the pandemic, students have felt stressed both at home and at school.

VanHara says it’s important that the students talk about their concerns with their parents, teachers or a school counselor. Her advice to parents: Do not to hesitate when it comes to getting your children the help they need.

“That could be through services through our center, reaching out to their insurance company to find a provider that is within [their] network for them for coverage,” VanHara said. “There’s mobile crisis teams that are available 24/7, there’s crisis support hotlines that you can use, there’s so many different options nowadays that make services readily available for somebody.”

VanHara also says, as far as keeping your schools safe, if you see something, make sure to say something.

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