Latest from The Conservative Mom

Mental Illness Dangers In America’s Teens

After one of America’s most deadly mass school shooting recently in Parkland, FL,  parents, children, and families around the country are asking “How did this happen?” and “How could this have been prevented?”

Many have jumped on the bandwagon urging for restricting gun control rights, and yes, I think we can all agree that a 19-year old with a history of mental disturbances and acting in very alarming ways is not someone that should have been easily able to purchase a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle.  Gun control is one issue, but there’s a much bigger picture here: a young mind’s mental state and teen mental illness.

A shooter’s profile will often follow a familiar path with warning signs, disturbing behavior, and concerns from others about their mental health. People who knew Nikolas Cruz, Parkland’s high school shooter, described him as a “deeply disturbed, emotionally broken” young man. They commented that warning signs of mental illness were plastered all over his social media accounts where he showed aggressive and strange behavior, talked about killing animals and even posted photos on Instagram with guns and knives.

It’s no surprise that from the outside Cruz seemed like a poster child for someone who needed help and who could have a severe mental illness.

According to the NCES (National Center for Education Statistics) as of October 2017, about 50.7 million students will attend public elementary and secondary schools.  A study of mental illness in teens showed that about 1 in 5 young people have a mental illness, which is about 20 percent of our current population.  Add this all together and this could mean approximately 12,500,000 students +/- today may show signs of or already have a mental illness.

A teenagers mind cannot process things and situations like adults because the rational part of their brain isn’t fully developed and won’t be until age 25 or so. Adults think with the prefrontal cortex, the brain’s rational part that responds to situations with good judgment and an awareness of long-term consequences, whereas teens process information with the amygdala, the emotional part of the brain.

In teen’s brains, the connections between the emotional part of the brain and the decision-making center are still developing and not necessarily at the same rate. That’s why when teens experience overwhelming emotional input and may have trouble explaining later what they were thinking (which explains why many teens are vulnerable to mental illness-simply because of the life stage they are in).

It’s not unusual for parents to wonder whether their child is acting like a typical teenager or behaving differently due to mental illness, drug use or behavioral difficulties. Normal teens are often moody because of hormonal and physical changes happening during puberty, but when mental illness is involved, it may be difficult to distinguish “normal teenage behavior” from the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other emotional troubles.

For parents of teenagers, you can probably agree it’s perfectly normal for them to be down or out of sorts for a couple of days, however, if there’s a considerable mood or behavioral change that lasts more than two weeks, it could mean something else may be going on.

Here are some concerning behaviors experts say to pay close attention to:

  • Decrease in enjoyment and time spent with friends and family
  • Significant decrease in school performance
  • Strong resistance to attending school or absenteeism
  • Problems with memory, attention or concentration
  • Big changes in energy levels, eating or sleeping patterns
  • Physical symptoms (stomach aches, headaches, backaches)
  • Feelings of hopelessness, sadness, anxiety, crying often
  • Frequent aggression, disobedience or lashing out verbally
  • Excessive neglect of personal appearance or hygiene
  • Substance abuse
  • Dangerous or illegal thrill-seeking behavior
  • Is overly suspicious of others
  • Sees or hears things that others do not

*It’s important to remember that no one sign means there’s a problem and to examine the nature, intensity, severity, and duration of a problem first.

Recently, President Trump spoke directly to children across the country, urging them to seek help if they feel “lost, alone, confused or even scared” stressing the need to address mental health issues in America.

If you think your teen may be exhibiting signs of mental illness, seek professional treatment as soon as you can because if left untreated, it could become life-threatening and could lead to other illnesses.

About Katherine Rez

For many years Katherine spent her much of her time journaling for fun, reading books, and writing several short stories for adults, and children. She eventually found herself in a career writing high-level processes and procedures for corporate and startup businesses. Combined with her love of health, American values, and family, she now writes for a variety of websites from health and entertainment, to news and politically driven websites.


  1. Its not the guns, and the mental illness may be, in fact most likely IS in a large part of the consequence of medications. Especially in young males, teens and early twenties particularly, they seem prone to strong psychotic reactions to the Anti-Depressants that are way too readily prescribed.
    The most recent shooter was quite likely on at least two medications and had been I suspect for a long time. With the death of his stepmother and expulsion from school the combined effects may have tipped the balance and also he may have stopped taking the meds which will often be a withdrawal far worse than getting off heavy drugs like heroin. Doctors do not routinely monitor this withdrawal – it is hard to do.

    American kids are way too sick, far too many are given drugs and stay on them poorly or completely unsupervised and few get the proper support and care to lead them to a medication free healthy rewarding life. Add in the appalling diet and lifestyle of too many and the combination can turn out explosive as has been witnessed.
    The message is clear.
    The whole society must clean itself and its environment up. Get off the commercial junk food, get off the medications , 5 y.o. kids should not be permanently on anti-depressants, and help the kids find purpose and enjoyment in life without distracting electronic toys and guns.

  2. As a former special education teacher, I must say that there are some students who do not belong in traditional public schools. Until federal and state governing bodies admit this, and are willing to build special educational facilities for these students, these students will continue to reek havoc on public schools. Many special education students have issues that require more than traditional special education teachers have training for. The current situation is unfair to both traditional students and special education students.

  3. It’s not only mental illness, It’s how the child is raised before they even become teens, If they have a brutal upbringing they will lash out, If they get beat from abusive parents, If they are around relatives that don’t show affection, I myself was an abused child, mine didn’t start until my father pick me up from a aunts house, my father never wanted me around, not until I was old enough to take the beatings that he gave my stepmother,My half brothers were affected by it because they came from a split home , I didn’t meet my mother until I was twelveywaes old, But I didn’t go get a gun and kill my fellow classmates, I am still disfunctional today,parents, teachers, students, should all see the signs, Our society today is tuned out to everything untill it happens to them, that guy raising hell a trump,I feel for him, but he wants all the wrong things done,Everyone that knew that kid was responcible for that shooting especially the ones that were around him the longest, Lets put the blame where it goes,

  4. Parents have dropped the ball on so many levels. They blame teachers for all the problems their child has, when all one has to do is look at the dysfunctional broken homes filled with baby mommas, daddies, multiple children from multiple partners, no education, welfare, food stamps, etc.

  5. Looking at Cruz’ past, there were several instances that called for involuntary committal to a psychiatric facility which would have flagged his ability to own a firearm. A school does not want reports of criminality taking place. The school officer, Peterson, could not have buried this on his own. The 39 calls for service to the Cruz residence for essentially the same reason without investigation is further evidence that there is more to this than meets the eye. School Resource Officers should be more than security guards waiting for things to happen. They should be working with the school to collect and develop intelligence as it relates patterns of behavior they may lead to harmful activity well before something tragic happens. What goes in the proximity of the grounds at opening and closing times, checks of any involvement with police while outside and not at home and an open door where students that may be bullied or otherwise coerced or assaulted established where information being held in confidence are all possibilities.

  6. Unstable kids fed on drugs are more likely the scapegoat patsy for covering a FBI false flag operation, where they set up a shooting, place crisis actors for media, and blame an MK-Ultra kid for the massacre. The Florida shooting has so many suspicious details .. research it. Or allow it to happen again, and again, and again … …



    To point out that boys need their fathers is to shine a spotlight on divorce and single mothers; and that is, admittedly, uncomfortable. But there’s no way to address fatherlessness comfortably.

    The fact is, divorce and family breakdown—which, to answer my emailer’s question, is the root of fatherlessness—is catastrophic for children. There’s more than one reason why, but an obvious one is that in the majority of cases, divorce separates children from their fathers.

    This is destructive to both boys and girls, but each sex suffers differently. Girls who grow up deprived of their father are more likely to become depressed, more likely to self-harm, and more likely to be promiscuous. But they still have their mothers, with whom they clearly identify. Boys do not have a comparable identification and thus suffer more from father absence. They also tend to act out in a manner that’s harmful to others, which girls typically do not.

    […]More often than not, children lose contact with their fathers—for two reasons. One, mothers remain the default custodial parent in the average American divorce and thus retain most of the control. Second, it is usually women who consider themselves the aggrieved party, as evidenced by the fact that wives initiate 70 percent of divorces.

    The unfortunate result is that some divorced mothers use any opportunity to undermine their children’s relationship with their father or, if not that, dismiss the significance of a father’s role.

    […]And the saddest part is most absent fathers aren’t absent by choice. The “deadbeat dad” exists, but not in spades. In many instances, women are divorcing perfectly good husbands in their search for what they believe will be a better match—which is a natural outgrowth of no-fault divorce. Certainly, women who are married to abusive or dangerous men must file for divorce. But such husbands and fathers cannot account for the 70 percent female-led divorce rate.

  8. I completely agree on the psychotropic drugs being given to these young males. I blame the teachers for pushing Ritalin at the parents to get the boys turned into zombies in class so it isn’t too hard to handle them.

    I blame the parents at home for not giving the kids the attention and discipline that they need.

    And I blame the psychiatrists for doling out the pills like candy.

    • Not all these medications sre STRAIGHT JACKETS.
      They are appropriat for many children and adults.
      Children who cannot focus on school work cannot lesrn.
      Besides the Dr. The parents and teachers must understand the medications and their use.
      I have worked with these kids. I have read everything about needed medication. Its the parents and doctors eho need more education. They are not straight jackets.
      See… ( or org. )
      There is plenty of info. out there. I know an ignorant woman who wont even let her son ” TRY” a medication for a week or two, wont READ ANYTHING ABOUT MEDS” and the kid could not focus long enough to pay attention i. his daily reading circle!!!! He has not learned to read!! He has other problems too. He is 14.
      Medication free and iliterate.

    • Teachers are NOT allowed to suggest drugs even. They can only discribe what they see., And maybe suggest parents talk to their doctor.
      Ritalin is the most studied medication we have. It does not make a child or adult a zomby. It really doesn’t.
      Stop talking about things you have not studied.
      Teachers DO NOT PUSH “RITALIN” and it does not make you a Zomby!!!!!!
      There are msny other medications that are similar, but slightly different. You might like ritalin, but perhaps another med. would help better, or feel better somehow.
      That is why you Must read about it and WORK WITH YOUR DOCTOR. There is Concerta, adderall, and others.
      Please don’t continue to spread false information or add to the existing false information.

  9. I think people just like shooting up schools because it’s fun. They want to go out in a blaze of glory, and be glorified by the media (which includes you guys), and that’s what they do. They get back at the world, at people they hate, and they probably hate themselves too, so they don’t mind dying in the process. It’s not really that hard to understand. I would just recommend that people should try to protect themselves against it. Not all forms of fun are good. And not all good things are fun. Some of it’s hard, like protecting society or your families from people having fun. That takes work. But people don’t like working. They don’t care enough about saving themselves or other people to stop killers on the loose. They don’t believe in putting them to death, but in giving them rehabilitation in prisons and the like. And that’s what they get. They believe in forgiveness. Liberals and conservatives alike. They believe in forgiving criminals who have murdered and raped. And a lot of these criminals go on to have children and they pass that along until the whole world is full of criminals.

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