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Supporting Your Child After Tragic or Disturbing Events

In the wake of the second mass shooting in the United States in less than a month, it is expected that some may experience challenging emotional reactions.   Some children and youth – and even adults – may become concerned that something bad will happen to themselves or those they care about.  They may become anxious, irritable, sad, or exhibit other behaviours that might indicate that they are struggling.  Such reactions are normal after tragic or disturbing events but usually the sense of vulnerability subsides over time.

If children or youth you care about are struggling, the following suggestions may help you support them to regain a sense of safety and security:

  • Limit exposure to graphic or disturbing media images and messaging.
  • Reassure children that schools make every effort to ensure the safety of everyone and that if they are feeling frightened or worried, they can reach out to a trusted adult.
  • Encourage them to share how they are feeling and validate their emotions while reassuring them that the events are very rare.
  • Try to maintain routines to increase a sense of predictability.
  • Make time for quality time that provides a positive distraction; play together, laugh together, pray together.
  • Remember to reflect on your own emotional responses and model positive ways of coping with fear, sadness, worry.
  • And finally, reach out for help if you need it.  Connect with family, friends, or even professional supports, as contributing to your own wellness is also important.

The Board has additional mental health resources and supports for students and parents posted here: CDSBEO Student/Parent Mental Health Resources

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