Remembering and Helping Youth Cope Through Troubled Times

Thanks to Murfreesboro's Dr. Tom Starling for Mental Health America of Middle Tennessee's concerns and advice on helping, especially children, face the challenges of dealing with the Connecticut tragedy.

Mental Health America joins Americans in mourning the loss of those killed in the tragic shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims and hope for the full recovery of those who were injured and everyone who is affected by this horrific event.

At this point, no one fully knows the motivation behind this tragic and senseless act.

We do know that events like this will impact families, the community and the nation. Many 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 has developed guidelines to help Americans respond and cope with tragic events, which can be found at www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/information/get-info/coping-with-disaster.

To guide discussions about the shooting, Mental Health America offers the following suggestions for parents as they communicate with young people in the area and across the nation:

  • · Talk honestly about the incident, without graphic detail, and share some of your own feelings about it.
  • · Encourage young people 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.
  • · 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 They may minimize their concerns outwardly, but may become argumentative, withdrawn or allow their school performance to decline.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.

Mental Health America’s website has a number of additional resources on its website to help provide support and perspective to those directly affected by the tragedy and the nation as a whole (http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/information/get-info/coping-with-disaster.)

What are your thoughts?

Note: Mental Health of America's thoughts ended with the previous paragraph. The ideas expressed now are designed to make you think, hopefully act, and not to spread someone else's political beliefs.

There are so many views on the source of the problem. Some say "gun control". Others point to "parents teaching respect" when the child is young. The fingers also point to music, movies and the messages from the entertainment industry.

Could it be everyone has a share in the problem, and everyone must take a stand and stop worrying about not offending someone else? Political correctness is killing us. The lack of involvement has gone viral around the world.

Instead of long debates on where to begin and how to begin, instead DO SOMETHING and start taking one small step. That's better than taking no step at all.  

Starting this minute, move one step at a time to correct the decades of what looking the other way has done to society. It's amazing how similar the views of opposing groups might actually be. We must work together using those similarities, instead of going in opposite directions, using our differences, to accomplish nothing.

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