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Doctor's Note: School Safety

Nationwide, we’ve seen too many episodes of violence in our schools and communities. We have the resources for greater vigilance and prevention, and it’s time we put them to use.

Virginia’s yearly budget already includes funds to equip our schools with security devices. What we need now isn’t more money – it’s ingenuity in getting our students and staff to adopt practices that identify threats and prevent violence.

With the widespread use of smartphones and mobile technology, even among younger students, we can build on existing communication networks and familiar formats through an easy-to-use app. Strengthening the ‘see something, say something’ app is a practical solution that can be widely adopted at little cost. It’s an existing technology that can support emotional and mental health resources alongside reporting capabilities. It’s a tool that can efficiently report on risk without stigmatizing any user. It’s a common-sense step towards securing our schools.

Day or night, with any device, at no cost to anyone. Few Virginians are aware that we already have access to a free and universal app for emotional and mental health resources.

Through a public-private partnership, all Virginians have access to help in finding services for mental health, drug, and alcohol problems. A simple call, text, or chat can connect you privately with the personal resources to work through crisis, seek intervention, or find answers to healthcare questions. We’ve experienced too many tragedies in our schools and communities to let any more time pass without elevating every resource available for the mental well-being of every student and citizen. For any Virginian who needs assistance, a free mental health resource is ready to answer your call.

Help is already here. At any time, with any device, simply reach out. Call toll-free: 1-800-424-4046 | Text 711 to 1-800-424-4048 | Visit

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