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Student mental health top of mind after Monday’s school shooting

<i>KMOV</i><br/>Eight minutes. That's the amount of time St. Louis Metropolitan Police officers needed to stop a gunman inside Central Visual and Performing Arts High School on Monday.
KMOV
KMOV
Eight minutes. That's the amount of time St. Louis Metropolitan Police officers needed to stop a gunman inside Central Visual and Performing Arts High School on Monday.

By David Amelotti

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    ST. LOUIS, Missouri (KMOV) — Eight minutes. That’s the amount of time St. Louis Metropolitan Police officers needed to stop a gunman inside Central Visual and Performing Arts High School on Monday.

For the rest of the school community, the time to recover is immeasurable.

“It doesn’t feel real to me,” student Brady Grossman said. “Hearing all the gunshots and screaming in the background was horrifying.”

Grossman, was in a first-floor classroom and saw his schoolmate on the ground dead as he ran to get outside. He said he and his friends don’t want to go back into the building.

“We just need a day off,” Grossman said. “We are stressed out over all this work, but now we don’t even feel safe anymore.”

“I don’t know if I’d want to send my child back to that school,” Clinical Psychologist Jameca Woody-Cooper told News 4.

Woody-Cooper has a private practice, along with a professor role with Webster University. She said it’s critical parents initiate conversation, especially with teens, and assure their child it’s safe to open up.

“If you wait for a teen to talk about something, you may be waiting forever,” Woody-Cooper said. “The whole time they may have thoughts in their mind and creating their own narratives.”

News 4 took the concerns of Grossman and his friends straight to City of St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones.

“I think they are within their rights to have those feelings,” Jones said. “I know the public, the school district is responding appropriately with behavioral health providers and to make sure they have someone to talk to. We in the mayor’s office are trying to marshal resources. I’ve talked with the governor today; he offered even more resources.”

Woody-Cooper said the goal of the parent needs to be to get their teen or child to talk about their experience, fears, and what they think going forward and what they see as their risk.

“You can approach a high schooler with ‘how do you feel, let’s talk about how this will look forward and here’s what I’m going to do to make sure you’re safe,’” Woody-Cooper said. “For elementary students, you have to talk down to their level. Encourage them to draw or do art or play, play out their feelings to think about what they are feeling.”

Grossman said he’s angry because the one place someone should never feel unsafe is at school.

“It doesn’t feel real to me,” Grossman said. “Hearing all the gunshots and screaming in the background was horrifying.”

For anyone in need of help with mental health, there are people right now, standing by, wanting to help you.

You can call 988, 24/7 – that’s the Mental Health Crisis Hotline. This is a service that just went online over the summer. There is also the Behavioral Health Response in St. Louis that can be reached two ways: 314-469-6644 for adults and 314-819-8802 for kids. A third option is to text “BHEARD,” to 31658.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - Regional

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