Knowing the warning signs to prevent a tragedy

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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – “You really just want to have a good system in place where ideally you never have to use it but if you do, you are very well prepared and you have a very fluid, fast processing infrastructure where you’ll able to deal with any type of situation,” said John Braccio; a Psychologist with Regional Psychological Services.

When tragedy strikes, like the shooting that happened at a high school in Parkland, Florida on Wednesday, it begs the question…how could something like this be prevented?

Braccio, a local psychologist who works with schools in the area is helping to answer that question.

He says a key part of prevention is watching out for one of the many signs that can be associated with a mental health issue.

“Certain traits that we look for are depression, resentment, displacement of blame onto others, social isolation, a fascination with violence but it’s very critical that you don’t focus just on those specific areas because those in of in itself aren’t enough,” said Braccio.

Braccio says it’s important to recognize what he calls “leakage”.

“What leakage refers to is when they start bragging about doing certain things. For instance, the kid in Florida was bragging on social media that he was going to be a professional school killer. That is leakage,” Braccio stated.

But Braccio says it’s important to keep in mind that not every student with a mental illness will go on to commit a crime.

“We don’t want to be stigmatizing people who have depression or any sort of mental illness that they’re really on the verge of killing people that’s why it’s so critical that you pay attention to the bragging, the leakage, these threats to specific situations of violence combined with the odd behaviors,” said Braccio.

We hear the phrase all the time…if you see or hear something, say something.

Braccio says that is crucial because becoming aware of a situation sooner rather than later, could stop tragedy from happening.

“We don’t want it to be where you’re concerned about being the snitch, the one that’s telling on others because it’s a totally different thing to tattle-tell say on your sister or your brother to get them in trouble. This is more reporting information for safety and that’s a critical difference so that kids aren’t in that fear that they’re telling on others,” Braccio stated.

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