OPINION: Parent Questions Mental Health Care In Wake Of School Shootings



The following was written and submitted by Jayme Esgar.

As I sit here and ponder these school shootings I can’t help but wonder if these parents have tried several times to get these kids the mental care that they need. They may have been trying for several years to get them help, a proper diagnosis, therapy ANYTHING, yet they are diagnosed “fine”, “a model citizen”, no mental health provider thinks a full evaluation should be done.

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These kids get swept under the rug, sent home and the violence continues under the roof those parents provided, families sleeping in their own bedroom with the door locked, cameras in place for evidence of possible outbursts. Police have been called several times, these kids put on a 72-hour psych hold and released to emerge with more anger more resentment, more dangerous each day.

But when something happens people are so quick to point at the parents and where did they go wrong.

I am one of those parents.

My child has been in and out of mental health care, undiagnosed though we know something is wrong, evaluations that aren’t proper and has more turned into a 30-minute counseling session, 10 days in a pediatric mental hospital only to be told there is nothing wrong.

They looked away from the bruising on the child’s face that were self-inflicted and hands from punching concrete.

Threats against people of authority whether they be parents, police, hospital staff or others that have tried to help him.

My child has been punished in every humane way.

He’s been spanked, grounded, favorite items removed, letters recognizing wrongdoings, police called several times and it gets us nowhere but in this vicious cycle going deeper and deeper with each turn. Missed curfews, threats against peers, getting physical with others, no remorse for families splitting up because they fear for themselves and the safety of their other children. Do you know how frustrating this mental health system is?

It’s not a problem just for our small communities but it’s an epidemic nationwide.

Nobody wants to help these kids get the proper care they need.

They are overlooked, swept under the rug, hidden away like their problem doesn’t exist, leaving parents to fix it themselves without the proper training, just what Google may tell them.

I’ve struggled with mental health for a long time, it’s taken me 20 years to find a doctor that has taken the time to sit with me, evaluate me, balance medications to a combination that has me feeling like a happy person should feel.

Yes, I have my bad days and I don’t get mad at that because everyone has a bad day. Are these parents to blame? No, I certainly don’t blame mine. Are there parents to blame when the child’s ignored and may “grow out of it”. Yes, why are you not paying attention to your child’s behavior, their mood cycles, their threats? I understand single parenting, I understand school systems not informing because the parents may not have a phone, I understand peers not saying anything because they’re terrified that more retaliation may come in a more severe form.

BUT THAT IS NO EXCUSE to ignore the behavior.

Parents are the first to blame, then the media digs further into the child’s health records and then becomes the demon because the parents tried to get them the health care their children so desperately need.

Do you think this child’s parents face enough heartache, stress, frustration and some embarrassed for the actions this child has caused? Nobody wants to have “that child”, but that’s not how life works. It’s not all rainbows and sunshine, it’s the good, the bad, the unstable, the athletic type, the introverts, the 4.0 student, the high school dropout.

I have that child. We are trying our best, using every option we have at our disposal yet we are treated like the failures because this child is one of “those kids”. This kid I love with all of my heart, even when he has told me I am not his mother and that he hates me. I know the kinds of help he needs but this mental health system is failing again and again and again.