Special Feature: Healing After the Sandy Hook Tragedy

child boarding school bus

January 3, 2013

Last month, unimaginable tragedy shook Newtown, Connecticut and the rest of the nation, as a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School took the lives of 20 students and six staff members.

Nothing can reverse the disaster and return these children and educators to their families. But research can guide the community toward recovery—and may help prevent future tragedies.

Lisa H. Jaycox

With an event like this, ‘recovery’ doesn't mean a return to normal, because lives have been permanently altered. Recovery can only mean finding a new normal, a new path forward. And schools, those places of safety and healthy development, can help with that process, by providing a structure and community to support healing.

Lisa H. Jaycox, senior behavioral scientist

Read More

Terry L. Schell

By comparison, gender, geographic region, and race are all better predictors of gun violence than mental health. Knowing someone is male or from a particular state gives us more information about their likelihood to perpetrate gun violence than knowing that they have a diagnosed mental illness… If policymakers and the public expect the mental health community to play a significant role in preventing future incidents like Newtown, the mental health research agenda must become a higher national priority in future federal funding decisions.

Terry L. Schell, senior behavioral scientist

Read More

Bradley D. Stein

The tragedy at Sandy Hook most directly affects those who lost children, parents, spouses, loved ones, and friends. But the impact may also reach many children and educators across the country with their own experiences of violent trauma. As part of the effort to support educators and communities, we offer information about Psychological First Aid for Schools and additional resources for parents and educators about how best to respond.

Bradley D. Stein, senior natural scientist

Read More

As many families can attest, the challenges of caring for a young or adult child with severe mental illness or emotional or behavioral disturbance are profound and heartbreaking. In our national conversation on mental health, we should remember the role of families when thinking about mental health treatment and ensure that our policies open up opportunities to support parents, siblings and relatives, and enhance their capacity for care.

Ramya Chari, associate policy researcher

Read More

  • Guns in Homes: A Health Hazard

    Mar 25, 2013

    An ample body of evidence indicates that the benefits of keeping a gun for protection are substantially outweighed by the associated risks, writes Art Kellermann.

  • Firearms and Gun Control: Many Questions, Some Answers

    Jan 17, 2013

    President Obama's task force on gun violence has raised the stakes in the policy debate on gun control and policy in the wake of the recent shootings in Colorado and Connecticut. Some of RAND's top researchers share what is, and what isn't, known about firearms and gun control.

  • Can Improved Mental Health Care Prevent Gun Crimes? The Truth Is, We Don't Know

    Jan 17, 2013

    If policymakers and the public expect the mental health community to play a significant role in preventing future incidents like Newtown, the mental health research agenda must become a higher national priority in future federal funding decisions, writes Terry Schell.

  • Accounting for Risk of Violent Death

    Jan 4, 2013

    As a Southerner who learned to shoot at an early age, I've never had a problem with guns. But emergency-room doctors like me also know how much damage they can cause if misused or allowed to fall into the wrong hands, writes Arthur Kellermann.

  • Shifting the Burden of Mental Health Care: Helping Families

    Dec 21, 2012

    In our national conversation on mental health, we should remember the role of families when thinking about treatment and ensure that our policies open up opportunities to support parents, siblings and relatives, and enhance their capacity for care, writes Ramya Chari.

Additional Resources