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The town of Parkland, Florida, was changed forever on February 14th, 2018 when a student opened fire on the campus of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Seventeen casualties were totalled, with many other injuries, both physical and mental.

Florida has a law called the Baker Act, which places people who are a risk to themselves or others, or who are too mentally incapacitated to take care of themselves, under psychiatric care for up to 72 hours of involuntary lockdown. The Sun Sentinel reports that “On Feb. 27, about two weeks after the Valentine’s Day massacre, 195 children across Florida were taken for psychiatric observation under the state’s Baker Act.” February 27, 2018 marks the highest single daily total for the state in nearly five years, the article adds.

Though the Parkland shooting triggered what may have been a temporary mental health crisis, there has been a growing trend of difficulty with mental health among high schoolers. The Sun-Sentinel reports that Baker Act hospitalizations increased by almost 50 percent between 2011 and 2016. “Among the reasons cited for the increase: cyber bullying, limited mental health services, a shift away from arresting juveniles, and mass shootings, according to a 2017 Florida Department of Children and Families report.”

February 27th was the highest day, but not the only high day which followed the Parkland shooting. On February 15th there were 177 Baker Acts. On February 20th, 188. Then, on February 27th, about two weeks after the incident, 195.

Delayed Trauma

After a traumatic event, there is a window for post traumatic stress disorder, or symptoms of trauma to develop. Professionals have said that anywhere from one week to two weeks after a traumatic event is an open window to notice trauma. Some of the reason for this is shock and denial. Other reasons are that people react to trauma differently, have had different emotional upbringing, and process their emotions differently. It can take time for symptoms to develop, or more aptly, for symptoms to climax to a noticeable degree which necessitates treatment.

The Baker Act

The state of Florida is investigating the Baker Act through a commission created by the Florida Legislature. In question is whether or not school, county, or state officials should have used the Baker Act on Nikolas Cruz at some point, so that he could have received psychiatric care which he clearly needed.

Are You Struggling?

Treatment for trauma is available in Florida state. The Guest House Ocala offers a local safe haven for trauma treatment, providing custom treatment plans and private grounds for healing. Call us today for information on our residential treatment programs: 1-855-483-7800