Two years after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 20 students and six educators in Newtown, Connecticut, mental health problems continue to be reported by children and adults affected by the event.
"We've found the issues are more complex in the second year," Joseph Erardi, Newtown's school superintendent, told The Associated Press. "A lot of people were running on adrenaline the first year." Through grants and donations, counseling is available via organizations like the Resiliency Center, which offers art, music, and play therapy. Children from kindergarten to 12th grade will learn in class about how to handle their feelings, and a mental health center will open at the middle school to help children who were at Sandy Hook.
A long-term support system will help those same children for the next 12 to 15 years, as the youngest survivors grow up. Those seeking help are reporting everything from substance abuse to depression to the inability to sleep. One survivor, Beth Hegarty, was at Sandy Hook when the shooting began, and along with her three daughters has taken advantage of the mental health services offered. "Here it is two years later, and it's still hard to deal with," she said. "But, God, you didn't want to know me two years ago."