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Mental Health Founder's Letter in Wake of Mass Shootings

The Dorm’s Founder & CEO responds to “violence, loss and grief” as Mental Health Awareness Month draws to a close.

Est. reading time: 2 mins
Posted Under: News/Statements

Clinically Reviewed by: Amanda Fialk, PhD, LCSW, LICSW


A Letter from The Dorm’s Founder and CEO, John Mcgeehan, LCSW, to the professional mental health community, May 27, 2022.

Dear Friends,

Earlier this week author and journalist Min Jin Lee posted an emotional tweet as we learned the news of yet another mass school shooting: “Our bodies are not designed to absorb and process this much violence, loss and grief”. On Tuesday, 19 children and two teachers were murdered in Uvalde, Texas, the 27th school shooting in 2022.

Studies show that gun violence has surpassed car accidents as the number one cause of death for children and adolescents in the United States. And news of Tuesday’s shooting came only days after the murder of 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarket by a white supremacist (and there are so many more; it has become such a regular occurrence that as a nation we are at risk of becoming numb to the push updates and the news alerts of yet more horrific incidents).

As helping professionals we will never stop showing up for our clients and their families struggling with this news among so many other painful headlines (including frightening anti-abortion legislation and anti-LGBTQ+ laws). But we want to acknowledge how difficult this continues to be as we personally struggle with our own heartbreak, anger and disbelief that our elected officials are not doing more to protect lives in this country.

Amidst all of this, May 25th marked two years since George Floyd’s murder at the hands of Derek Chauvin. In honor of his memory and so many other Black people who have lost their lives as a result of systemic racism, police brutality and continued inequality, we ask ourselves: what has changed?

Monday’s Opinion piece by Ben Crump — “It’s been two years and Black people still can’t breathe” — is worth a read in full. From the article:

  • “Last year was one of the deadliest on record for police violence…”
  • “But the sweeping, comprehensive reform that would transform policing and reframe the relationship between police departments and people of color stalled from a lack of political will…”
  • “The consequence of this unfinished business is that Black people lack the final, most important measure of progress: security, the chance to exhale and simply live our lives.”

As providers who are called to this work, when we see pain, trauma or injustice we pay attention. We speak up and we help.

I certainly don’t have all the answers. No one person or program does. I do know, however, that together as a mental health community we have a lot more strength as a collective. To speak up about what we are seeing. To model action. To not let people stay numb once the headlines fade away. And to help our clients manage amidst the near daily bombardment of tragic news.

Do you or a loved one need help with mental health?

The Dorm is here.

At a foundational level, I think about The Dorm’s mission as building the future of young adult care. And in our work to help young people build independent lives, I know that we, like so many of you, are looking to champion new ways to provide treatment that helps sustain those futures, even if our elected officials won’t. Because goodness knows, they need it now more than ever.

To everyone in this community, thank you for what you do and please join us in standing with organizations taking action:

With gratitude,

John Mcgeehan, LCSW (he/him) | Founder/CEO

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