A Nebraska state official cautions against believing better mental health treatment can stop school violence.
School shootings have prompted a national discussion about mental illness, among other issues.
But State Behavioral Health Director Sheri Dawson says no matter how early the intervention, programs cannot be expected to prevent school shootings.
“Not everybody that is involved with school violence has a mental illness,” Dawson says. “They may have threatening or concerning behaviors, but there is a difference between that.”
Dawson says national statistics indicate only 2% of those diagnosed with mental illness turn violent. She adds equating school violence with mental illness only perpetuates a stigma
“It is a very complex issue. There isn’t one solution,” according to Dawson. “It’s multi-pronged and that work continues in Nebraska.”
Dawson advocates a continuum of care to address behavioral problems and mental illness with early identification and prevention stressed.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]