Experts speak on how to talk to kids about Texas school shooting

Published: May. 25, 2022 at 5:26 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - Amid the tragedy in Texas, you may be wondering how to talk to your children about the shooting incident.

TV6 spoke to mental health experts. They offered the following tips:

“The most important thing is to help children feel safe. To know that their parents, their school teachers, the community, law enforcement, everyone is working together to keep our community as safe as possible and that what happened is a somewhat isolated incident. It’s not something that happens everywhere and we do really good at keeping kids safe in our community,” said Richard Whitaker Ph.D. CEO at Vera French Mental Health Center, “Helping them to feel safe and feel reassured I think is an important message. I think it’s important not to take the mental illness component too far in saying that folks with mental illness are dangerous. No. Some dangerous people have a mental illness but it is very rare that a person with mental illness commits something like that kind of crime. Very, very rare. On the whole, nearly every person with a mental illness is safe and someone probably that you know. So, it’s important not to assume that this means that mental illness is dangerous. They aren’t necessarily, but some high-risk individuals do have a mental illness.”

“It’s important that we are open and we create a space where that individual feels safe and not judged for saying what they’re saying and just let them know that you’re present and with them to help them process whatever they are going through. That’s the same approach you would get if you saw a social worker or mental health counselor. Somebody that’s going to be open and available to just listen and be supportive through whatever is happening,” said Joseph Lilly, Director of Outpatient Services at Robert Young Center, UnityPoint Health – Trinity.

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