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Tips to help students and children cope with Ohio school shooting

Heather Rudow February 29, 2012

(Photo:Wikimedia Commons)

In light of Monday’s school shooting in Ohio, which has now claimed the lives of three students, Mental Health America is offering tips to help students and children cope with and discuss the tragic events.

“We do know that events like this will impact students and families in Chardon and the nation,” said David Shern, president and CEO of Mental Health America in a press release. “Many students may feel at risk and may experience feelings of anxiety and fear. Parents may be groping with how to discuss these and similar events with their children.”

Mental Health America suggests the following tips:

  • Talk honestly about the incident, without graphic detail, and share some of your own feelings about it. It is important that students feel informed.
  • Encourage students to talk about their concerns and to express their feelings, and validate the young person’s feelings and concerns.
  • Limit television viewing. It can be difficult to process the images and messages in news reports.
  • Empower young people to take action about their own school safety. Encourage them to share their concerns about school safety with school officials.
  • Recognize what may be behind a young person’s behavior. They may minimize their concerns outwardly but may become argumentative, withdrawn or allow their school performance to decline.
  • Keep the dialogue going even after media coverage subsides. Continue to talk about feelings and discuss actions being taken to make schools and communities safer.
  • Seek help when necessary. If you are worried about a young person’s reaction or have ongoing concerns about his/her behavior or emotions, contact a mental health professional at their school or at your community mental health center. Your local Mental Health America Affiliate can direct you to resources in your community.

Source: Mental Health America

Heather Rudow is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Email her at hrudow@counseling.org.

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