How to talk to talk to your children about tragedy, like school shootings

Mental Health Awareness Month
Tips on how to discuss mental health with children
Published: May. 24, 2022 at 6:36 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and WCPS Mental Health Counselor, Lisa Rice joined Kelly Austin in studio to talk about mental health and children.

What was supposed to be advice on signs to look out for in your child if they are struggling with something mentally and how to seek help, but instead turned into how to talk to your child about something as tragic as a school shooting.

On Tuesday, in Uvalde, Texas, an alleged 18-year-old gunman opened fire at Rodd Elementary School, killing 14 children and one teacher.

The news of the school shooting broke just before the 4 pm newscast and the interview quickly switched gears to help parents have the talk with their children who may have many questions and concerns about what they may see and hear on the news.

Rice talked about what to say and what not to say. “You want to really try to shield younger kids from that information, you don’t want to have the news on where five and six-year-olds are, are hearing that kind of information.” advises Rice, “And then when they get a little bit as they’re older, you know, then you can talk with them about that still want to be very age-appropriate. You want to listen to their concerns, you know, they have questions, you want to answer their questions, but you also want to try and keep it simple. Keep it factual.”

Rice also talked about the signs that your child may be struggling with mental health issues.

Adding that, these are some of the signs to look for including:

- Significant changes in mood, behavior, or personality

- Changes in academic performance

- Hurting oneself or talking about hurting oneself

- Persistent sadness that lasts two weeks or more

Even though school is out for the summer, there is still help through the Warren County Public School System.

Parents can call WCPS Director of Student Services, Todd Hazel at 270-781-5150 if you think your child is struggling.

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