Monday, December 5, 2022

Hoaxes have societal costs, mental health toll

GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -Wednesday’s scam calls come at a cost. Anderson County for example says the most costly things in these situations are resources like deployed helicopters.

But mental health counselors say there are other societal costs, while schools are quiet, the psychological scale for some, maybe not.

Greenville High School freshman Allan Hernandez says he was in the middle of English class when he was suddenly interrupted.

Rumors of someone having a gun began to spread around, Hernandez said.

And then he says the class came to a halt. According to Greenville Police, they provided an aggressive law enforcement response to clear the school building, along with EMS and fire as part of protocol. Meanwhile, Allan says he had second thoughts and was reminded of the Tanglewood High School shooting in March.

“You don’t know what other people are going through. Things can go through their heads,” he said.

Hernandez calls this streak an irresponsible punch in the gut.

“It’s no joke,” he said.

Founder and CEO of Universal Therapeutic Services, Tiffney Parker, LMSW, provides mental health counselors and support for schools and school-aged children. Parker says scam calls, like violence, have mental and emotional costs.

“I hope parents have the hard conversations with their kids,” Parker said. “It creates a hysteria. It creates this fear. And when it is constantly perpetuated – this is stress. And that level of stress that is common can then lead to diagnoses potentially including things like anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Parker, along with the National Association of School Psychologists, says parents should make time to talk, observe their child’s emotional state, and keep conversations appropriate.

“When we think about our high school students, we are preparing them to be adults. Responsible adults who can consider their actions and emotions,” Parker said. “They can clearly share with a guidance counselor, ‘I need to talk to someone,’ I really need to process this.” So encourage them to reach out and use resources not only at their school, but at home and in the community.”

Parker says it’s also important to maintain a normal routine. She says don’t feed the beast of fear, but of well-being. This is not the time to act out of fear. For more information contact Universal Therapeutic Services here:

For more tips from the National Association of School Psychologists, visit here: parents-and-teachers

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