In the midst of the recent tragedy it's important to note that whatever this individual was going through, we need to understand that it was preventable. Proper mental health treatment is essential in dealing with children with severe mental and behavioral issues. There is a common misnomer that the only available treatment for children with severe issues is traditional counseling. While counseling is of great importance to the health of our society it is not enough for children or adolescents struggling with aggressive behaviors, either to self or others. Having worked in both inpatient and outpatient settings I know there is a huge difference in the types of services provided in both. To make it clear counseling in outpatient is much like anything outpatient, it's best when the situation is not critical but stable. It can either be seen as preventative or maintenance. When it's critical, i.e. when someone is exhibiting extreme aggressive behavior, suicidal ideation, or homicidal ideation, it is best that these be addressed in a treatment facility. Now there is a difference in acute hospitalization and sub acute or residential treatment. Acute is the typical 5-10 day stay to stabilize. Usually when someone has SI (suicidal ideation) or HI (homicidal ideation). If during this time the symptoms subside they are discharged to regular outpatient counseling. If the symptoms persist they are recommended for longer treatment. Unfortunately for adults there is limited available residential treatment facilities for long term. But there are many for children and adolescents. Some as short as 4 weeks, some as long as a year or more. This type of treatment includes not only typical therapy with a therapist, but medication management with a psychiatrist, regular group therapy, and other interventions deemed necessary to help the children be successful in gaining stability and improve their mental health.
For those parents who struggle on a daily basis with children or adolescents with severe emotional, mental, and behavioral issues... know you are not alone and that jail is not the only option out there. Your child can get the help he or she needs. You just have to reach out. If I can be of help, please let me know. I can get referrals for most states. Again, just let me know.