The frequency and repetition of school shootings produces a unique form of frustration and helplessness. We can all agree that no one wants these tragedies to occur, but what seems to be the point of disagreement is the course of action we should take after these mass shootings.
For this, we have produced a list of suggested ways to help that has something for everyone. These are six ways you can help to prevent future school shootings and support survivors of school shootings. We realize these are not a cure-all, but every voice activated, every dollar donated and every action taken adds up. We hope that someday we can have enough of those actions adding up to a world where no school shooting every occurs again. But for now, all we can do is make these terrible situations a little less terrible with our compassion and good will.
Here are six ways you can help after a school shooting occurs.
The Rebels Project
Coming out of the Aurora Theatre Shooting, The Rebels Project is run by survivors of mass violence, including the Columbine School Shooting. These survivors banned together to initially create a support group for survivors, but soon realized the massive energy around this cause. The Rebels Project has grown to include not just support groups but hosts national events for survivors to connect. They are now looking at expanding into offering counseling services to survivors. Consider donating to the Rebels Project or sponsoring a survivor.
Survivors often go unaware of the services they can utilize. If you’d like to help survivors connect to supportive services such as legal aid, mental health referrals, survivor rights advocacy and case management, consider donating to Victim Connect – a helpline that connects survivors of all crimes to services they need to heal and achieve justice. The program is run through the National Center for Victims of Crime – consider donating to help survivors access the resources they need.
Every Town for Gun Safety
Working to prevent gun violence, Every Town for Gun Safety has become a pillar of the anti-gun violence movement. If you’re interested in advocating to pass gun-reform laws like improving background checks, disarming domestic abusers and prohibiting assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, consider joining a local chapter or donating here.
March for Our Lives
Spurred out of the 17 lives lost and countless lives changed from the shooting at Parkland High School,March for Our Lives is a student-centered movement. It started as one of the largest marches in US History and had catapulted its energy towards voter registration and changing gun laws such as requiring universal background checks. Visit their website to learn about how you can become involved or make a donation.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
If you’re interested in supporting survivors mental health, consider volunteering for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline which can connect you to a local suicide prevention lifeline. Rates of anxiety and depression are higher among survivors of school shootings and sometimes these feelings can lead to suicidal ideation. Having someone to talk to, among other coping techniques can be effective in preventing suicide. National Suicide Prevention Lifelife offers trainings to volunteers to learn how to help people with suicidal thoughts. Learn more and consider volunteering or donating.
Full disclosure: We are Youth Era. We became involved in supporting survivors of school shootings after the Reynolds High School Shooting. When an on-site mental health clinic failed to see even one student in the first month it was opened, we realized we needed to do something new. Instead of handing out brochures about counseling we utilized social media to spread the word about an event for Reynolds High School students – a Virtual Reality Ropes Course that all were welcome to attend. We staffed the event with our highly trained peer support specialists to provide any emotional support through evidence-based practices to anyone who needed it that day. We ended up seeing 220 people that day and held 26 survivor-initiated conversations about the shooting. We now offer our services and support nationwide with our crisis support team. We humbly throw our hat into the ring with these other incredible organizations – consider donating to provide survivors with peer support through Youth Era.