EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD: The world did not end -- for most of us

2012-12-30T00:00:00Z EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD: The world did not end -- for most of usTerry McCullough nwitimes.com
December 30, 2012 12:00 am  • 

If you are reading this, then you know the world did not end on Dec. 21, 2012, as predicted. So what do we do now? I understand that the prediction actually is “the world as we know it” will end and that we actually may experience a heightened awareness of ourselves and our surroundings.

Certainly the tragic events that have occurred during the past few weeks have shaken our sensibilities and made us more aware. Even the baggy-pants kid next door that is always in trouble with the law expressed his disgust over the Sandy Hook tragedy to me this week. He also expressed how anybody could have harsh or cold reactions to the tragedy.

"I need to change the company I keep," he said.

Sounds to me like a lot of mental health treatment is needed by a whole lot of people.

Here are some other signs that the world has come to an end as we know it: Otherwise level-headed leaders finding themselves stumbling out of character, impulsive pranks yielding endless tears, troubled kids acting out our nightmares in broad daylight and, of course, the fiscal cliff threatening to make millionaires just a little bit poorer.

Here’s a thought for the Democrats and Republicans: Give everybody that can afford a $150,000 vehicle a special long-term deduction for replacing that auto purchase with a donation to programs that benefit the greatest number of people -- such as emergency shelters, subsidized housing, family and individual counseling, physical, social and occupational skill building curriculums in schools, after school programs, boot camps, parenting camps and youth sports.

That’s my two cents on that subject. I want to make sure everybody knows and understands there are many resources available to individuals and families to help cope with today’s challenges. Those resources are right in your backyard! The days of “I don’t need counseling because I’m not crazy” are gone. The days of deep dark secrets are over forever. Babies, children, teens, young adults, middle-aged adults and seniors all have the same basic need to be safe. Parents and teachers need to have resources available to them when there are suspicions a child is headed for big trouble -- or when they themselves are at the end of their ropes.

Children need to know there are easily accessible safety networks in their neighborhoods and schools. In Thornton Township, all residents are eligible to receive counseling or referrals to an appropriate service as well as emergency and disaster preparedness training at no cost. For these services, call (708) 596-6040.

Many other resources are available at no cost as well, such as the SAMSHA’s Disaster Distress Helpline, which runs 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week and offers Immediate Crisis Counseling to anyone who needs help in dealing with psychological distress as a result of natural or man-made disasters, incidents of mass violence or any other tragedy affecting America's communities. Call (800) 985-5990 or text "TalkWithUs" to 66746, and the Helpline immediately connects callers to trained and caring professionals.

Terry McCullough is program manager for the Thornton Township Youth Committee. The opinions are the writer's.

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