Days from the anniversary of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, a new report released Thursday aims to detail how we can prevent another tragedy.
The University of Virginia professor who co-wrote the report, Dewey Cornell, says we have focused too much on crisis response and need to provide more resources to prevent gun violence.
The American Psychological Association put together the report following the events in Newtown and other mass shootings.
At Sandy Hook Elementary last December, gunman Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 students, six faculty members and himself. Mental illness is something Lanza struggled with all his life. Reports say family members and friends knew something was wrong before the violence happened.
That was also the case for Virginia Senator Creigh Deeds’ son, Gus, who stabbed his father before killing himself with a rifle in late November. The day before, The Rockbridge Area Community Services Board released Gus from an emergency custody order, citing a lack of psychiatric beds.
“Well, it's abundantly clear that our mental health services are stretched to the limit, and really not adequately support to provide the kind of comprehensive safety net we really need in the United States,” said Cornell, forensic clinical psychologist and professor at the Curry School of Education at UVA.
The report shows that it is very hard to predict who will be the source of future gun violence, but notes that society is able to help with what is described as a "layered approach," which includes a primary program to reduce risk factors in the general population, and a secondary prevention program to help individuals who need support.
Cornell says Virginia was the first state to require threat assessment teams at all public schools, both K-12 and institutes of higher education.