Sandy Hook Murders: Grief and Trauma Counseling

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Sandy Hook Elementary School – killings will affect the community for years to come. Image by Daniel M. Reck

Sandy Hook Tragedy: The Role of Parents

Dr. Stuart Goldman, a Harvard Medical School psychiatrist, urged parents in a USA Today interview to keep small children away from media coverage of events such as the Sandy Hook massacre.

Peter Saxe, of the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the New York University and of the NYC Child Study Center, continued, “Tell your child clear answers to their concerns and assure them as much as possible.”

The American School Counselor Association stresses keeping up routines for children exposed to such crises. The association also notes that parents need to “deal with and assess” their own emotional response – in other words, don’t pretend you’re fine until you break down.

School Violence and The Role of Society

Forensic clinical psychologist Dr. Dewey Cornell, director of the Youth Violence Project at the University of Virginia, reported in a PBS article, “[p]revention has to start with mental health services and resources in the community to resolve problems and difficulties that people have long before they escalate into a serious violent situation.”

Adam Larza: Sandy Hook Shooter

Adam Larza, the shooter in the Sandy Hook incident, showed signs of poor adjustment while in school – did he receive the care he needed while he was younger? The NCCP, National Center for Children in Poverty, reports that as many as 70% of adolescents needing mental health services do not get them.  Use of services by adolescents “lag behind” that of than in other age groups.  Barriers to access include lack of insurance, lack of confidentiality, and poor referrals.

As we can see when tragedy strikes, prevention is better than picking up the pieces afterwards.

Sources:

American School Counselor Association. Helping Kids During Crisis. (2011). Accessed December 15, 2012.

Grossman, C.L. Conn. Shooting Causes Trauma Across the Nation(2012).USA Today. Accessed December 15, 2012.

Kilcrease, W. Is “Grief Counseling” Helpful Or Harmful to the Bereaved? (2008). Psychology Today. Accessed December 15, 2012.

National Center for Children in Poverty. Adolescent Mental Health in the United States. (2009). Accessed December 15, 2012.

PBS. Offering Protection and Comfort for Kids in the Wake of the Latest Shooting Tragedy. (2012). Accessed December 15, 2012.

Politi, D. Who was Adam Lanza? Slate. (2012). Accessed December 15, 2012.

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