The tragic mass shooting at an elementary school in Ulvade, Texas yesterday has left us stunned and wanting to ensure our community is safe and has the support they need to process the on-going trauma in our world. Schools should always be a place where youth feel safe and are able to learn and grow. The continued gun violence experienced in our country is unconscionable. Our hearts go out to the families of the recent mass shooting at Robb Elementary School, and to all victims of gun violence.
Here are a few ways to process, grieve, support each other, and build resilience during difficult times:
1.) Take some time to sit and listen to your children’s concerns. Are they scared? Worried for their friends and family’s safety? How is this impacting your family?
- The National School Crisis Center offers practical tips for supporting youth with conversations—for example, Talking to Children About Tragedies.
- The National Alliance for Children’s Grief (NACG) offers videos and a FAQ section aimed at understanding grief in children and helping caring adults guide them through loss. Their Hero Toolkit offers activities for talking about grief with children and teens.
- The National Child Traumatic Stress Network supports adults in talking with children about violent events and grief:
- Helping Teens with Traumatic Grief: how teens may feel when struggling with the death of someone close and what caregivers can do to help.
- After a Crisis: how parents can help young children, toddlers, and preschoolers heal after a traumatic event.
- Coping After Mass Violence offers common reactions children and families experience after an event of mass violence and what they can do to take care of themselves.
- Helping Youth After Mass Violence offers common reactions children have, how parents can help them, and self-care tips after a violent event.
- Guiding Adults in Talking to Children provides ways to navigate children’s questions about death, funerals, and memorials.
- Coping After Violence provides tips for supporting teens.
2.) Engage in a healthy dialogue about preventing prejudice and the importance of acknowledging biases.
- The University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education has an interview with clinical psychologist Howard Stevenson, Talking to Children After Racial Incidents.
- EmbraceRace’s Supporting Kids Through Racialized Violence toolkit offers resources to help us communicate with kids about racialized violence and support them in pushing back against it.
- The American Psychological Association offers support that includes Talking to Kids About Discrimination.
- The Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences has a short listen, Talking to Children About Race and Ethnicity, about why race conversations with kids are important.
3.) Make a commitment to prioritize mental health in your family, among your troop, and in your community.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org for online emotional support
- The Crisis Text Line connects you to a trained crisis counselor for free, 24/7 crisis support via text message: text NAMI to 741741
- The Disaster Distress Helpline is a 24/7 national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling (more info at National Institute of Mental Health): dial 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor
- National Alliance for Children’s Grief (NACG) links to local support groups and professionals
- SAMHSA’s Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357) free, confidential, 24/7 treatment referral and information in English and Spanish
- Mental Health America (MHA) links to affiliates across the country and offers resources for finding treatment