How to Cope with the Trauma of America’s School Shooting Epidemic

There’s no denying we have a problem in this country. It seems like every year or two, we hear about some kind of massive school shooting, and those are just the ones that make national news. There are smaller shootings throughout the country in these buildings more often than you might think. 

It’s an epidemic that doesn’t seem to happen elsewhere in the world. Unfortunately, it’s somehow molded into a political issue. 

But, at the end of the day, we can all agree that these shootings are incredibly traumatic. No matter what you think should be done to stop them in the future, being able to cope with that trauma now is important. 

So, what can you do to help you or your child?

Don’t Ignore Emotional Health

One of the big problems we’re facing because of this epidemic is the feeling that we have to “move on” quickly. Or, again, turn it into a political issue. Trying to rush through the trauma process or ignore your feelings completely can be damaging. 

It’s okay to grieve when these shootings occur. It’s okay to feel distraught, uncertain, or even frustrated and angry. Teach yourself and your child to acknowledge these feelings to have an easier time processing them. Bottling feelings up inside may only cause them to get stronger and louder over time. 

Don’t Overexpose Yourself or Child to the Media

After a major school shooting, it can seem difficult to escape the news. New images and videos come out constantly. More information is shared. Interviews come to the surface. 

While you shouldn’t hide your head in the sand and ignore what’s happening, there’s a fine line between staying informed and overexposing yourself, especially for your children, who are likely already confused about what is going on.

If either of you are feeling overwhelmed by the aftermath of a school shooting, unplug for a while. Avoid things like social media or turning on the news for a day or so. Or limit the amount of time spent on either of them.

Support System

Chances are, you’re not the only one struggling with the trauma associated with these shootings. Don’t feel as though you have to carry your emotions alone. Your child probably feels alone as they try to process everything that is happening in a world that already feels big and scary.

Encourage them (and you) to lean on a support system. Whether that is with people you trust, their friends, or your family members. Don’t be afraid to encourage them to ask for help if needed. If your child sees you opening up about this, it will likely encourage them to do the same. It’s a healthier way of processing trauma for everyone and allows people in your circle to support each other.

Reach Out For Professional Help

Finally, don’t be afraid to help your child by getting them help. As these shootings become more frequent, they can be harder to process. They are senseless tragedies that don’t need to occur, and that can make them seem even more traumatic. 

Neither you nor your child need to work through these emotions alone. Helping them learn how to process these emotions now can help them learn coping skills early to deal with all of life’s challenges that, unfortunately, will come their way.

While talking to a mental health professional won’t weaken the tragedy of a school shooting, it can make it easier to process these emotions in healthy, effective ways. Don’t hesitate to reach out to learn more about child therapy.