Letter to Stoneman Douglas High School

APA President Jessica Henderson Daniel, PhD, offers condolences to Stoneman Douglas High School and shares psychological resources for coping in the aftermath of tragedy.

Principal Ty Thompson
Stoneman Douglas High School
5901 NW Pine Island Road
Parkland, FL 33076

Dear Mr. Thompson, students, and faculty of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School,

On behalf of the 115,700 members of the American Psychological Association (APA), I am writing to offer our condolences to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School community — especially those directly involved — for your tremendous loss from the recent shootings. While acts of gun violence have become all too common in recent years, it is especially tragic when they occur in schools and so many young lives, filled with potential, are lost.

Although such acts of terror affect us all, we know that adolescents may be especially affected by this shooting. It is important to provide them with social support and a sense of community and to be vigilant for signs that they are having trouble coping.

We urge you and members of your community to use some of the online resources we have to help people cope in the aftermath of such tragedies, including information related to gun violence prevention. Additionally, we want to connect you to the Florida Psychological Association (FPA) which is working with the local Red Cross to provide volunteer psychologists who are trained in disaster mental health and are experienced with mass casualty situations. FPA Executive Director Carolyn Stimel, PhD, ABPP, and David Romano, PhD, who spearheads APA's Disaster Resource Network in Florida, are already thinking about longer term needs. We encourage you to connect with Dr. Stimel and Dr. Romano to discuss how FPA and local psychologists may be a resource and help in the coming weeks and months.

We commend your efforts to help those in pain or anguish, and especially to assist students and other members of the Parkland community to find strength and heal. We also applaud your students' willingness to advocate passionately for a solution so soon after the shooting. Please let us know if there is anything else we can do. Many of us will be marching alongside your school community and others on March 24.

Our thoughts are with all of you as you heal from this tragedy.


Jessica Henderson Daniel, PhD, ABPP