The Fidelis Care Blog 

Helping Kids and Adolescents Cope After Tragedy
6/2/2022 • Posted by Dr. Moataz El Refaie, Medical Director, Behavioral Health & Dr. Patrice Reives-Bright, Senior Medical Director, Behavioral Health in Corporate News, HR Events, In The Community


The impact of mass violence, like the tragic shootings in Buffalo and Texas, which were fueled by hatred and anger, can feel overwhelming and lead to hopelessness. Common reactions from children and adolescents can include behavioral changes, anxiety, intense engagement on social media, substance abuse, and mood changes. They may also experience fear and may not feel safe.     

Helping Children and Adolescents to Cope

  • Talk to your children. Do not avoid the conversation. It is better if the information and discussion happens with you.
  • Normalize their feelings of anxiety, sadness, fear, and confusion.
  • Understand that different children may have different reactions, and some may present more intensely.
  • Promote your children’s coping skills. Keep their usual routines and expectations.
  • Allow your network to support you and your children. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  • Help teens find healthy outlets to express themselves and avoid alcohol and substance use.  
  • Be intentional and create time away from media outlets.  

Leading by example, Being a Role Model

  • You as a parent or caregiver can be a positive role model for your child when it comes to prioritizing
    mental health and self-care. Acknowledge your own emotions and model for your child how to address them.
  • Keep a pulse on your own anxiety. Listen if those close to you see changes that may indicate the need for professional support.
  • When you take good care of yourself and you are in a good place, you will be able to take good care of your children and provide them with what they need.

Moving Forward

  • Give grace to yourself or others to move at your own pace to heal.
  • By prioritizing our goals and responsibilities, you can create an action plan.
  • Action plan helps us reduce stress and live according to our values and priorities

Seeking Help

  • Know that these reactions are natural and felt by others. You are not alone.  
  • Help is available in many forms. Seek help and support for yourself and your child in your social networks or professionally.

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