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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott directed the Health and Human Services Commission on Wednesday to provide behavior health services to every child in Uvalde in the wake of last month’s massacre at Robb Elementary School that left 19 children and two adults dead.
Uvalde, a tight-knit town of about 16,000, is still reeling from the shooting as devastated families lay their loved ones to rest.
“As these families begin to rebuild their lives, it is essential that the children of Uvalde have access to mental health treatment,” Abbott wrote in the letter to Texas Health and Human Services Commission Commissioner Cecile Young.
“I am asking that you use all available resources to work with families to provide behavioral health services to every child in Uvalde who desires support.”
Organizations and individuals across the private and public sectors have pitched in to help the Uvalde community recover.
The federal government has been offering “every available” resource through its School Emergency Response to Violence program to provide assistance on the ground, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said.
“I spent the formative part of my career in a Connecticut elementary school. I will never forget the ripple effect of fear and heartbreak that spread among students and teachers in the aftermath of the horrific Sandy Hook shooting,” Cardona said the day after the shooting.
A 2020 study by Stanford University researchers found that antidepressant use increased 21.4% among adolescents who lived near schools where mass shootings took place.
Kacey Johnson, who hid beneath a table during the Columbine shooting in 1999 that left 13 people dead, previously discussed the lasting trauma that comes from surviving a school shooting.
“It is a hard to life to step into. [N]obody wants to be in the ‘school shooting club.’ [Y]ou are just thrown in without asking. Everything changes, and your old normal can never exist again,” Johnson told Fox News Digital.