Ideas to Support Your Child Following Recent Events
Attend to self-care
Keep yourself well and you will be able to care for your family. Look after your physical health needs – being sure to eat, sleep, exercise, and (if possible) maintain a normal daily routine.
Pay attention to your emotional health
Reactions may be stronger than death by other means. Allow children and young people their feelings. Don’t try and fix them. Naming the feelings that they are showing lets them know that you recognise their reactions (e.g. it really hurts, it makes you feel scared, wondering if you could have done something).
Reactions will be confused
That’s natural. Try and resist the urge to tidy it up. Grief does not go but it can change over time.
Try to recognize when you or those around you may need extra support
It is not uncommon for individuals of all ages to experience stress reactions when exposed (even through media) to shootings or mass violence. Changes in eating and sleeping habits, energy level, and mood are important signs of distress. Watch for children acting younger than their age, this is normal. They might have intense emotional reactions, such as anxiety or a strong need for retribution in adults. You might see big reactions to everyday requests. If this happens a lot, make sure that you have support too.
Avoid overexposure to media
While it is important to stay informed, media portrayals of shootings and mass deaths have been shown to cause acute stress and posttraumatic stress symptoms. Limit your exposure and take a break from news sources.
Maintain contact with friends and family
These individuals can provide you with emotional support to help deal with difficult times.
Focus on your strength base
Maintain practices that you have found to provide emotional relief. Remind yourself of people and events which are meaningful and comforting.
Talk to others as needed
It is important to ask for help if you are having trouble recovering and coping following the shooting.
Accessing Further Support
You are welcome to contact us on our helpline on 01752 424348 or via email at email@example.com.
External Helplines and Support
Winston’s Wish and Child Bereavement UK are both national charities who run helplines you can contact and have supportive resources on their websites, including information about explaining homicide to children and young people and supporting them. There is a book about supporting a child bereaved through murder or manslaughter called ‘Hope Beyond the Headlines’ which can be purchased here. For information in other languages, you can find free multilingual downloads to help communities in the wake of tragic events here.