The Dublin Riots, from a Belgrade perspective: Shared experiences of disaffected youth and mental health

Marija writes: I know Dublin. Over the years I’ve spent a lot of time there and, after Belgrade, it’s almost a second home. So I needed to write something about the recent events in Dublin, where children were stabbed outside their school, followed by far right riots through the city centre which caused chaos and fear (though thankfully no serious injuries). I am deeply distressed and in shock about what happened, because this is not the Dublin I know.

For anyone who doesn’t know, there were two massive shooting incidents in Belgrade in May this year. A 13 year old kid shot and killed nine other children and a security guard in our first school shooting in Serbia. Two days later there was another gun attack, this time a driveby carried out by a 21 year old – nine people were killed, including an off-duty police officer, and 12 were injured.

There is an underlying thread which connects these seemingly different tragic events, and that’s mental health, particularly that of younger people. Whether in Belgrade, Dublin, the USA or anywhere, the victims deserve for this question to be properly addressed. Future generations deserve it too.

We need to do better at teaching our children and young people how to express their emotions with words. We need to teach them that it is okay to be sad and cry, to be confused and in panic, to be furious and want to smash things, to be happy and smile, to be fulfilled and in peace or any other emotion they feel is okay.

We need to teach the sort of emotional literacy which would give young men (for it is mostly if not exclusively young men) the ability to say “I am angry and furious. Why is this happening? I am confused and I want to smash something!”. Rather than unleashing their frustration and fury in trashing a city or picking up a gun.

Mental health problems are among the biggest causes of destruction and madness we witness every day, yet services and support programmes are grossly underfunded. But emotional literacy begins at home: if we all acknowledge the importance of mental health and create space for young people to express their frustrations and unhappiness in safe ways, it will become less feasible for others to manipulate emotions towards achieving corrupted or disingenuous goals.
~ Marija

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