Violence Prevention Violence Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Tips for Coping With Stress
Mass tragedies, including school shootings, workplace violence, and community violence affect different people in different ways. People exposed to these situations can experience physical reactions, such as cuts and bruises, as well as mental reactions, such as frightening thoughts and painful feelings. Common responses can include: Feeling a sense of loss, sadness, frustration, helplessness, or emotional numbness Experiencing troubling memories from that day Having nightmares or difficulty falling or staying asleep Having no desire for food or a loss of appetite Having difficulty concentrating Feeling nervous or on edge
If you or someone you know experiences any of these feelings after a traumatic event, get support from your family, friends, and co-workers. Talk with others about your feelings and take care of yourself by keeping your normal routine. Avoid using alcohol and drugs, which can hold back your feelings rather than letting them come out. Staying active, helping other people, or volunteering in your community can also help you feel better.
Keep in mind that returning to the way you felt before the event may take some time. Helping and healing can begin at the scene of the event, but may need to continue over a period of time. If your distress continues or you have trouble managing your feelings, talk to a psychologist, social worker, or professional counselor.
Tips for Parents
It’s natural for children to worry. But talking with children about these tragedies, and what they watch or hear about them, can help put frightening information into a more balanced context. The CDC offers parents these suggestions to help children through their questions:
Reach out and talk. Create opportunities to have your children talk, but do not force them. Try asking questions like, what do you think about these events, or how do you think these things happen? After a traumatic event, it is important for children to feel like they can share their feelings and to know that their fears and anxieties are understandable. Express yourself. Your children may be feeling different emotions at different times. Sadness. Anger. Fear. Confusion. These feelings are normal reactions to this tragedy. Don’t be afraid to allow your children to express how he or she feels and share your feelings with them. Watch and listen. Be alert for any change in behavior. Are children sleeping more, or less? Are they withdrawing from friends or family?Are they behaving in any way out of the ordinary? This may show that they are having trouble coming to terms with this event. Recognizing even small changes in behavior can give you an early warning that something is troubling them. Share information with other parents. Get to know your children’s friends and their parents. Make an on-going effort to check in and talk to other parents about any issues or stress. You don’t have to deal with problems alone-the most effective solutions usually come from parents, schools, and health professionals working together to provide support for the health and well-being of your children. Keep it going. Ask your children how they feel about the event in a week, then in a month and so on. Each child has his or her own way of coping under stressful situations. The best thing you can as a parent is to listen to each child and allow them to express their concerns and fears.
Tips for Kids and Teens
If you or someone you know needs immediate help please contact the one of the following crisis hotlines: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (1-888-628-9454 for Spanish-speaking callers) Youth Mental Health Line: 1-888-568-1112 Child-Help USA: 1-800-422-4453 (24 hour toll free) Coping With Stress
After a traumatic or violent event it is normal to feel anxious about your safety and security. Even if you were not directly involved, you may worry about whether this type of event may someday affect you. How can you deal with these fears? Start by looking at the tips below for some ideas.
Talk to an adult who you can trust. This might be your parent, another relative, a friend, neighbor, teacher, coach, school nurse, counselor, family doctor, or member of your church or temple. If you’ve seen or experienced violence of any kind, not talking about it can make feelings build up inside and cause problems. If you are not sure where to turn, call your local crisis intervention center or a national hotline.
Stay active. Go for a walk, volunteer with a community group, play sports, write a play or poem, play a musical instrument, or join an after-school program. Trying any of these can be a positive way to handle your emotions.
Be a leader in making your school or community safer. Join an existing group that is promoting non-violence in your school or community, or launch your own effort.
Stay in touch with family. If possible, stay in touch with trusted family, friends, and neighbors to talk things out and help deal with any stress or worry.
Take care of yourself. Losing sleep, not eating, and worrying too much can make you sick. As much as possible, try to get enough sleep, eat right, exercise, and keep a normal routine. It may be hard to do, but it can keep you healthy and better able to handle a tough time.
Tips for School Personnel
Kids and teens that experience a traumatic event, or see it on television, may react with shock, sadness, anger, fear, and confusion. They may be reluctant to be alone or fearful of leaving secure areas such as the house or classroom. School personnel can help their students restore their sense of safety by talking with them about their fears. Other tips for school personnel include:
Reach out and talk. Create opportunities to have children talk, but do not force them. Try asking questions like, what do you think about these events, or how do you think these things happen? After a traumatic event, it is important for children to feel like they can share their feelings and to know that their fears and anxieties are understandable. Watch and listen. Be alert for any change in behavior. Are students talking more, less? Withdrawing from friends? Are they behaving in any way out of the ordinary? This may show that they are having trouble coming to terms with this event. Recognizing even small changes in behavior can give you an early warning that something is troubling them. Maintain normal routines. Keep a regular classroom and school schedule. This can be reassuring and promote a sense of stability and safety. Encourage students to keep up with their schoolwork and extracurricular activities but don’t push them if they seem overwhelmed. Express yourself. Your students may be feeling different emotions at different times. Sadness. Anger. Fear. Confusion. These feelings are normal reactions to this tragedy. Do not be afraid to allow your student to express how they feel and share your feelings with them.