What's behind the recent outbreak of school threats?
February 22, 2018 10:30 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Clovis. Aztec. Parkland, Florida. You hear those city names and your mind likely goes one place -- to the shootings that took place there.
These recent acts all involved teens or young adults who were not only struggling but also got their hands on deadly weapons.
"If they have access to guns, they pose a dramatic risk to themselves and other people," said Dr. David Ley, a reality psychologist. "A teenager that has access to firearms is 10 times the risk of suicide than any other teenager."
Ley said that's actually more likely than turning the gun on others.
"Social isolation, mental health issues, drug and alcohol issues access to guns or firearms, that is a whole lot of kids," he said. "Most of the kids that have those risk factors won't engage in these kinds of behaviors."
But it doesn't mean those children don't need help.
"The absolute best thing you can do for a troubled teen is to sit down and have a conversation with them," Ley said.
Do not be afraid to bring up tough topics like suicide or violent thoughts, Ley said.
"The reality is if you are thinking that, you need to ask that," he said. "Chances are pretty good that thought is already in your teen's head.
"Asking these questions in a nonjudgmental, non-threatening, non-shaming way is the way we get to help teenagers get support dealing with these issues."
Law enforcement and schools have no option but to take every single threat seriously. Many turn out to be pranks, which Ley said is a cry for help.
"We as humans use humor to relieve anxiety," he said. "And so when a kid is, you know, joking about this kind of stuff, they're telling us 'I'm nervous about this. This hurts and I don't know what to do with this."
If you need help, here is the phone number to the New Mexico Crisis and Access Line: 1 (855) NM-CRISIS (662-7474).
Updated: February 22, 2018 10:30 PM
Created: February 22, 2018 09:47 PM
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