While folks opposed to further gun control legislation have been saying that the mental health nut is the nut to crack when looking for the mass shootings violence Solution, I have to admit that a sense of resignation, that the problem just isn’t solvable, had come over me. It is not that well-meaning people don’t want to help the mentally ill. It is though, that the vagaries and complexity of getting everyone, 323 million people, in a country the size of the US, to voluntarily get screening for a variety of mental illnesses, make the problem seem overwhelming.

A simple solution?

However, The American Academy of Pediatrics has just released, this week, new guidelines that may be the magic bullet for a future solution. Engenius in its simplicity, the new guidelines suggest that everyone 12 years and older be screened for signs of depression, each and every year. Since every child of any means at all is seeing a pediatrician at least once a year, this blanket approach to screening for depression at an early age should be a game changer. While the reality is that most adults never expected a reasonable mental health solution to solve the mass casualty shooting problem in the US; this simple step is mana from heaven.

According to NPR, Dr. Rachel Zuckerbrot, a board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrist and an associate professor at Columbia, this would solve a huge problem.

Right now only about 50 percent of children developing depression are being caught before adulthood. And of that, 66 percent aren’t getting the treatment they need. Says Dr. Zuckerbrot, these screenings can be conducted casually and at well-child visits, sports physicals, or other visits to the doctor’s office. The kids are usually self-administering the screenings, either digitally or otherwise, so that they are more likely to divulge emotionally sensitive information.

Mental health and gun control, a winning combination

In combination with a nationwide policy for such screenings, the gun enthusiasts, NRA, or Republicans should be willing to compromise on some common sense gun controls on either automatic capability, age, or capacity. The fact is that there probably isn’t much we can do in this current generation to stop the mass shootings.

With 15 million AR-15 type weapons already in the publics hands and the screenings proclamation by the AAP just coming out now. However, with both common sense Gun Control and universal mental health screenings beginning at age 12, there would be hope for the next one.