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Understanding mental health issues in wake of school shootings

BEAUMONT - by Ashley Gaston - On a day when families have begun burying some of the young victims in the Connecticut school shooting, Law enforcement officers there and people across the nation are asking if there were any warning signs. 

Did the killer, Adam Lanza suffer from mental health problems that might have been a factor in what happened?

The answers are far from clear.

A woman who has spent many years with organizations that address mental health issues believes there had to be warning signs.
“If only I could reach my children, stress and anxiety…”

Jayne Bordelon is describing a painting that lines the wall inside the entry way of Mental Health of America of Southeast Texas in downtown Beaumont.

Bordelon is the Executive Director.  She says the art is a form of therapy for people diagnosed with mental health problems.

“Hands holding hands would be such an emotional painting to look at,” said Bordelon.

Adults and children create the paintings at a center in Beaumont that treats people with mental health problems.

"Look at this. There's still peace and calm, but anxiety of how to reach your children," said Bordelon.

Bordelon knows 1st hand what it's like to search for peace and joy. She suffered with severe depression for 30 years before she was diagnosed.

“If families have children who have issues, families need to reach out and not be afraid,” said Bordelon.

Bordelon says it's clear from information now coming to light, Adam Lanza's family was aware he had problems long before Lanza shot and killed 20 children and 6 adults at the Connecticut Elementary School.

Bordelon says families are often hesitant to reach out.

“We're not communicating socially.  I can't tell you how many people I deal with regularly that call up here and need help for a violent family member,” said Bordelon.

Bordelon says that phone call is the first step for many families and through therapy people with mental illness can begin healing and truly living.

This is not the dark side of mental illness at all, this represents hope and change.

Bordelon says Texas ranks 50th in the nation in funding for mental health.
Understanding mental health issues in wake of school shootings

Monday, December 17 2012, 11:20 PM CST
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