Be the Change

After many devastating shootings throughout the past decade, including last week’s Marysville-Pilchuck High school shooting, the Sandy Hook shooting, and Columbine High School shooting, many people wonder how can a young person can feel so stuck that he or she feels like their only option is to target fellow classmates and teachers.

On October 24th, Jaylen Ray Fryberg, a popular freshman football player, opened fire on the Marysville-Pilchuck High school cafeteria. On the day of the shooting, Fryberg texted five of his friends, two of which were his cousins, to meet him at a lunch table. He specifically targeted this lunch table during the time of the shooting. All five of the kids at the lunch table were injured, one girl died at the scene, and one girl died in the hospital a couple of days later.

When I first heard about this event, it was a week after it happened. I was so surprised and most people seemed calm and indifferent towards the tragedy. I think it is an incredibly disturbing concept that school shootings have become the “norm”. It is also disturbing that people don’t pay attention to mental illnesses until something like a school shooting or a suicide in the community happens.

Mental illnesses are just as detrimental as physical illnesses; we just can’t always see how it affects a person. Being a teenager and dealing with all that goes along with it is a very stressful thing. Then, add a mental illness on top of all of this and everyday life becomes even more stressful. Approximately 20% of teenagers in America are suffering from mental illness and many go untreated.

That being said, if you are dealing with a mental illness, you are not alone and don’t hesitate to ask for help. If you believe that someone you know is contemplating suicide or could possibly harm themselves or others, please tell someone before it’s too late.