Tragedies in Broken Arrow this weekend followed by the shooting massacre in Las Vegas leave us all in disbelief over life’s vulnerability. With heavy hearts, Family & Children’s Services joins others in sorrow as we feel the aftermath of these horrific incidents.
It’s normal for most people to feel anxiety, sadness, fear, anger or a mix of these emotions including helplessness and loss of sense of safety. More complex traumatic grief reactions are possible for those directly impacted.
Children can be deeply affected and have the same range of emotions as adults, but typically express their feelings through behavior changes, but there are ways to help children cope.
Tips for helping children and teens cope with grief:
- Allow youth to talk about their feelings and to express their grief (e.g., crying, being sad).
- Try to follow the same routines as usual.
- Encourage them to play and laugh.
- Limit exposure to violence on TV news.
- Encourage them to get adequate rest and to eat healthy meals.
- Repeat steps 1-5 as long as needed
If grief continues, a child and his or her family may have trouble getting past a trauma. Consider talking with a mental health professional to help identify the areas of difficulty.
If you or someone you know is experiencing signs of distress, please reach out to a mental health professional. In Tulsa call 918.587.9471. If you are in crisis, call COPES at 918.744.4800 or get free support by texting START to Crisis Text Line at 741-741.