After Newtown tragedy, mental health discussion grows

PALM CITY, Fla. - Kathleen Snore said when her teenage son began behaving differently, she knew something was wrong.

"Our kid's not the same anymore, he's not as happy-go-lucky as he used to be," she reminisced. "He's sad, he's depressed, he's anxious, doesn't want to go to school anymore."

Snore is a full-time substitute teacher. When she recognized the signs of mental health issues, she brought her son to Tykes & Teens, a mental counseling service.

"They invite the whole family in for therapy," said Snore. "That's really important to the kid, it makes them feel like they're not alone in it."

Jeff Ralicki, Tykes and Teens Executive Director, said what happened last Friday was a tragedy beyond compare. He said it brought mental health to the forefront of societal discussion.

"Not just mental health of the shooter, but the mental health of the people who had experienced this, and how do we deal with the recovery of that, so that it does not have long-term impact," he said.

Ralicki said it's important to remove pre-existing stigmas associated with needing counseling. 

"Mental health was really much more seen as a mental illness, whereas now we are beginning to understand that mental health is much more relational, about how we go about relating to other people and relating to ourselves," Ralicki said.

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