Dec. 17, 2012 -- After Friday's deadly rampage at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that took the lives of 20 children and six adults at the school, many organizations have set up ways to help.
As a result of the shooting, many parents have spoken out about their own child with mental illness. Some parents are worried, saying their child needs help.
Other organizations that can help the parents or caregivers of mentally ill children:
Your state: Each state runs a mental health agency under the aegis of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Click HERE to find mental health programs and treatment facilities in your area. The agency also runs a free disaster distress helpline for anyone who is experiencing distress as a result of a natural or man-made disaster. Call 1-800-985-5990.
NAMI: The National Alliance on Mental Illness is a grassroots organization that provides advocacy for the access to services and support for the mentally ill across the United States. Its more than 1,000 affiliate organizations across America also provide education and training for parents of mentally ill children and adolescents. NAMI's Child and Adolescent Action Center offers peer discussion groups and other support for teens who have been diagnosed with a mental illness, as well as peer support for parents and caregivers. Click HERE to find your local NAMI affiliate.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: The free lifeline is available 24 hours per day, seven days per week to people who believe they are in crisis, even if they are not contemplating suicide. "People have called us for help with substance abuse, economic worries, relationship and family problems, sexual orientation, illness, getting over abuse, depression, mental and physical illness, and even loneliness," a message on the organization's website says. Click HERE to go to the website, or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to be connected to a counselor at anytime. The organization also provides specialized help for young adults and veterans.
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: The organization's website offers links to resources and treatment options, as well as simple definitions for disorders, symptoms and signs of mental disorders, answers to frequently asked questions, a medication guide for parents, clinical resources and expert videos, and other information. The AACAP also offers Facts for Families , a free comprehensive guide for families dealing with children with mental illness. The guide is available in English and Spanish, and other resources are made available in Chinese, Malaysian, Polish, Icelandic, Arabic, Urdu and Hebrew. Click HERE to go to the organization's resources page.
The Child Mind Institute: The Child Mind Institute is a private organization that provides research, advocacy, resources and clinical care for children and teens who suffer from psychiatric and learning disorders. The institute's website offers a symptom checker, glossary of mental health terms and mental health guide, and a list identifying 11 simple signs that indicate a child may have a psychiatric disorder. Click HERE for the institute's resources page.
Mental Health America: The organization works to provide advocacy and access to quality behavioral health services for all Americans. It has more than 200 affiliates in 41 states. MHA also provides for the general public comprehensive information about mental illness, and offers links to the public for crisis counseling, treatment options, mental health providers, clinical trials and help to pay for prescription medications, among a number of topics. Click HERE for the organization's resources page.
Many organizations in and around Newtown, Conn., have set up ways that you can donate and support the families affected by the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
My Sandy Hook Family Fund was started to help the families who'd lost children and family members. Donations will go toward helping them meet immediate expenses, including funeral services, as well as ongoing living expenses such as food, mortgage payments, day care, insurance and fuel.
The Newtown Memorial Fund has been set up to provide financial support to families for funeral services, to assist the town in creating a lasting memorial and to provide an annual scholarship to students of the Newtown Public Schools who will be going to college.
Newtown Youth and Family Services is providing counseling to community members, and all donations to the organization will go directly to those affected by the shooting.
The Red Cross is on the ground in Newtown, providing food, water and emotional support to families and first responders. The organization is also providing grief counseling to the community.
All donations to the Newtown Parent Connection will go to those directly affected by the shooting. The organization is also providing support resources to the community, including trauma-support sessions.
In honor of 6-year-old victim Emilie Parker, who was originally from Utah, the Emilie Parker Memorial Fund has been set up at America First Credit Union in Utah. For more information about how to donate, visit the fund's Facebook page.
Save the Children has set up a child-friendly space in the Newtown middle school where kids can play and express themselves while parents receive grief counseling and support. The organization also put out a list of tips on how to support your children through this tragedy.
Willow Bay, journalist and author of the book "Talking to Your Kids in Tough Times: How to Answer Your Child's Questions about the World We Live In," shared tips on how to talk to your kids about the Connecticut shooting.
A toll-free number has been created for people to call in offers of help to the community of Newtown. The toll-free number is staffed by local volunteers and is supported by the United Way of Connecticut state 2-1-1 information line. Callers to the toll-free line can talk to someone who will take information on their offers of time, gifts, services, skills and money. To offer help to the people affected by this horrific event, call 855-364-6600.