Mental Health Concern

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Cho had a diagnosis of anxiety, depression, and selective mutism in secondary school.1 Once information about the mental health struggles that Cho was going through became known, many questioned the policies of universities. Some were wondering why there was no trail of evidence that was shared with one organization and another, Cho’s troubling obsession with the Columbine shooters in middle school and mental health issues through secondary school and college. There was a question if the proper officials would have relayed this information for future administration or counseling if this situation would have never boiled past the point it did. While the past can not be undone there is a hope that in the future if there is someone struggling that the right people are going to be informed before something terrible like this can happen. There were also changes made after assessments had been done on university to better inform those on campus of how to report suspicious or concerning behavior. This would allow those who are aware of someone struggling the information on how to handle the situation properly.2

Looking into how universities could better their mental health services for students was one of the top concerns following the Virginia Tech shooting since it was apparent that there was an increase in the amount of students coming to college with troubling psychological and behavior issues.3 During the 2000s and since there has been a growing emphasis on the importance of getting mental health care rather than ignoring issues that have persisted, especially in younger people. Previously conceptions of mental struggles have made some people feel like they are less than or “damaged” for requiring professional help. However, this stance was evolving once the real consequences of untreated psychological issues were being seen, such as the events on April 16, 2007. There was a push for more research to be done to better help the mental health professions determine someone who is needing more help or someone who is vulnerable to these unsettling behaviors. Understanding the developmental struggles for adolescents was incredibly important to this research since this would help those understand what these issues could be routed in. Through this research there was better resources for the professionals to help those on campus handled “difficulties with relationships, homesickness, time management, increased academic demands, and identity concerns, these students present with anxiety, depression, impulse control disorders, learning difficulties, self-harming behaviors, and suicidal ideation.”4

Not only were the mental health issues of Cho of concern but those affected by the shooting were as well. Two graduate students enrolled in Virginia Tech’s psychology doctoral program wrote an article discussing some of their thoughts and concerns about the event and the aftermath. Immediately following the event there were mental health professionals there to assist those who were struggling with the event of the day and were attempting to help those in need process what had occurred. It was eye opening for the students to learn about this situation firsthand where the victims and their families were struggling to cope but also the community as well. While it was a tragedy this event was able to help inform not only these two students themselves but future mental health professions in how to manage strong emotionally affective events and what they could do better in the future.5

  1. Hemphill and Brandi Hephner, Enough Is Enough a Student Affairs Perspective on Preparedness and Response to a Campus Shooting, 17. ↩︎
  2. Rasmussen and Johnson, The Ripple Effect of Virginia Tech, 11-14. ↩︎
  3. Sood and Cohen, The Virginia Tech Massacre, 65. ↩︎
  4. Sood and Cohen, The Virginia Tech Massacre, 71. ↩︎
  5. Immel and Hadder, “A Narrative of Personal Experiences and Recovery Efforts Carried Out in the Wake of the Virginia Tech Shootings”. ↩︎

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