Opinion: Mental Health Experts Say It Is Essential to Speak with Your Children after the School Shooting

Daniella Cressman

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Yesterday, 19 students aged 7-10 were murdered and 2 teachers were killed. The tragedy of losing your young child whom you thought would be coming home must be so devastating I cannot put it into words.

There is outrage across America about our loose gun control laws.

It has shaken a nation that was already reeling from the racially motivated mass shooting of ten people at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.

The gun laws vary by state, but one pattern remains clear: The states with stricter gun laws have fewer deaths.

States with stronger firearms legislation have fewer gun deaths, according to a study by Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit that advocates for gun laws. Everytown identifies five “foundational” policies for reducing gun deaths: requiring background checks and permits to purchase handguns; requiring permits to carry concealed firearms in public; extreme risk laws, which allow courts to remove guns from those who pose a serious threat to themselves or others; requiring secure storage of guns and rejecting “stand your ground” laws. —Bridger Beal-Cvetko

For more details, you can study this extensive list of the states with the weakest gun laws.

While many of us—regardless of whether we are Republicans or Democrats—are fighting for stricter gun laws, it's important to acknowledge the collective trauma and fear of young children who are heading off to school, terrified that they might be shot.

Mental health experts say it's essential to first focus on calming and centering yourself so that you don't lose control when you're speaking to your kids, as hard as that can be. It's also very important to acknowledge the severity of the mass shooting in Texas while also putting it into context and letting them know that they are safe and that this sort of violence is not occurring everywhere, even though it was a horrific incident.

"[Let] them know that you're doing everything that you can to protect them; that you would never send them to school if you thought they were going to be unsafe, the school has a good safety plan. —Dr. Erica Lee (Boston Psychologist)

You may want to visit a counselor together or take your little ones to a good therapist to work through all of the emotions you may all be experiencing. This is a sign of strength.

If you're worried about the cost, your insurance may cover this service, so you'll want to check with your potential therapist about it or call your insurance company.

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Canadian-American author writing about local politics, personal finance, & dining in Albuquerque.

Albuquerque, NM
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