In dealing with the mental health aspects of mass shootings it is important to realize there are two components: Immediate needs and prevention. I’ll address them in that order.
The obvious choice is to respond immediately and appropriately when someone talks about committing a mass shooting or if someone has reason to believe a person is planning one. The appropriate response when someone makes a “terroristic threat” is for the police to pick them up for an involuntary commitment to a mental health facility of some kind.
In addition, all the guns in their possession should be confiscated. Temporarily suspend their Second Amendment rights until it can be determined they are no longer a threat. I have heard such a thing referred to as a restraining order. That means a judge would have to sign off on it. The person would need the approval of a mental health professional and a judge to get his 2nd Amendment rights and firearms back.
I believe if you couple this with better background checks when you buy a gun and a ban on civilian purchases of assault rifles it would significantly reduce these kinds of tragedies.
The question of prevention when it comes to mental health is a complex one. I have a couple of suggestions that revolve around the idea of beefing up mental health services in schools. Many schools today are teaching mindfulness practices because the students benefit by learning better and behaving better. I say make it mandatory in all schools as part of a comprehensive mental health curriculum.
Start in the first grade or even pre-school and continue through high school. Teach mindfulness principles and practices. Teach that mental illness should not be stigmatized. Teach the symptoms and signs of mental illness and teach what to do and who to reach out to if you experience those signs and symptoms in yourself or others.
I’m not saying that doing these things will be a quick fix. I am saying that implementing this would start to show positive results very quickly in improved performance on standardized tests, better behavior generally and reduced bullying. Furthermore, as time goes on and the kids who are in the lower grades now reach the age when they might be thinking about getting that AR-15 and shooting up the place, they will have had years of learning how to NOT act that way–years of learning how to be mentally healthy.
All this is going to cost money. I, for one, would rather spend money on this than making our schools a more dangerous place by putting more guns in them regardless of how much training and bonuses you give teachers for bringing guns to class.