Helping Children Cope After a Traumatic Event

Sad child

After this weekends mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, adding to list of many traumatic shootings in the United States, it is important to provide comfort to children, help manage their fears, and guide them through grief. This guide by the Child Mind Institute was assembled by psychiatrists, psychologists and mental health experts who specialize in crisis situations. It offers simple tips on what to expect, what to do and what to look out for. If you or your children require assistance from a mental health professional, do not hesitate to ask a doctor or other health care provider for a recommendation.

A letter from the President and Medical Director of Child Mind Institute

Dear Friends,

The back-to-back mass shootings this weekend have left many of us struggling with horror and a sense of hopelessness. We add a Walmart in El Paso and a bar in Dayton to the list of places where shooters have found their victims: schools, offices, nightclubs, synagogues and more. It’s not surprising that children report being afraid there will be a shooting at their school.

We can’t protect our children from knowing about these tragic events, but we can help them cope in the healthiest possible way. To that end the Child Mind Institute offers resources for parents and educators with guidelines for talking to children of different ages about upsetting news.

As a child and adolescent psychiatrist, I know how important it is to help kids learn to handle fear and uncertainty. In Helping Children Cope After a Traumatic Event we suggest ways to comfort children and help them express their feelings. And we note the symptoms to look out for, as times goes by, that might indicate that a child is having trouble handling thoughts and fears generated by these shootings, and might need professional help.

Best wishes to you and your family,

Harold S. Koplewicz, MD
President and Medical Director
Child Mind Institute

Posted: Aug. 7, 2019