Helping Children Cope with Tragedies like the Highland Park Shooting
We are reaching out following the tragic unfolding of events Monday at the Highland Park parade. We are devastated by the senseless violence that has claimed the lives of our neighbors and will continue to profoundly impact our community. Our deepest sympathies go out to the injured and the deceased and their loved ones.
While most survivors show resilience, others will unfortunately experience ongoing effects on their mental health. We at Afg are here to provide support in every way possible. Beginning next week, we will be offering trauma-informed groups for children and adolescents affected by the recent tragedy to process their thoughts and emotions and build coping skills. A group format enhances the healing process by promoting connection with others who have been affected by similar trauma and easing feelings of guilt, shame, and a sense of being alone. We will also be offering a group for parents seeking additional support in navigating this challenging time. Please e-mail or call us if you are interested in participating in a group at your earliest convenience. Individual therapy and psychiatry will continue to be available for those in need of longer-term services.
Processing this event alongside our children is incredibly challenging. As your children hear about and process Monday’s event, they may turn to trusted adults for help and guidance. We suggest talking to your children about the shooting, as avoiding the subject can exacerbate children’s confusion and overwhelming emotions. We recommend beginning the conversation by finding out what your child already knows, listening carefully to their thoughts and feelings, and gently correcting any misinformation. Encouraging questions and directly answering questions will assist in your child’s ability to feel secure and cope with the various thoughts and emotions stirred up by this tragedy. We also suggest reassuring your children that there are a lot of helpers working to keep them safe.
We have attached several resources to assist parents in these difficult conversations, and we want to emphasize the necessity of utilizing guidelines that are most appropriate for your child’s age and stage of development.
We are here with you and for you.
With much care,
The Afg team