Philadelphia — In the wake of the tragedy in Tucson and the appearance of accused Jared Lee Loughner in federal court, Robert Q. Kreider, president and CEO of Devereux, a national nonprofit behavioral healthcare organization, has issued a brief statement addressing the impact that early social and emotional support can have on creating mentally healthy adults.
While there is much to be learned about accused shooter, Kreider says that those who know him say that it was clear he needed help, yet no help came.
"If resilience-building programs were in place around the country," Kreider asks, "is it possible that at an early age, Mr. Loughner's needs might have been more formally identified, and perhaps intervention could have taken place?"
"The simple fact is that behavioral problems and mental health issues do not develop overnight; they evolve over time," says Kreider. "If we make the effort to understand our children's social and emotional needs early in life, we can provide them the help they need, hopefully before serious crises arise. It is our responsibility as a nation to develop support systems that ensure those who need mental health assistance get it—and the earlier in life, the better for us all."
Devereux's Institute of Clinical Training and Research and its Early Childhood Initiative offers research studies, speakers, and teacher resource materials designed to help children resist hardships that arise in poverty-affected homes, in situations of abuse and bullying; as well as in the social and emotional challenges of everyday life. Devereux works with educators across the country to integrate social and emotional support curricula into American classrooms.
To speak with Robert Kreider, contact Kate O'Neil at (215) 790-4367. To view Devereux's resources on promoting emotional health and resilience in children, visit www.devereux.org.