Since our community became aware of another instance of mass violence on Friday, our emotions have ricocheted among shock, grief, anger, and helplessness. Those of us who are parents also feel a profound responsibility for reassuring our own children through this very difficult time. We struggle to find the right message and the right words to comfort them.
Media coverage has inundated us with advice. Numerous experts have been interviewed and resources posted. To help, The Mental Health Association of Westchester (MHA) offers suggestions for identifying credible resources. Most children are resilient, and for most, time spent with family along with reassurance about their own safety will be sufficient. However, for some families and children, additional support is warranted.
Identifying Reliable Information
While our personal digital worlds are filled with articles and links, we need just one or two we can rely on. Credible resources draw on a body of information from the field of disaster mental health response. The most useful advice can be distilled into a few key points, such as in the article written by Dr. Lloyd Sederer, Medical Director of the New York State Office of Mental Health and Dr. Eva Alisic, Ph.D. The full article is published on the Huffington Post online at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eva-alisic-phd/children-mental-health-newtown_b_2311875.html
For additional resources, MHA suggests relying on information posted by national organizations and government resources that routinely address mental health concerns. Among these are:
MHA is a community-based mental health agency that has been helping Westchester County residents for 66 years through direct services, professional and community education and advocacy. MHA supports 20,000 individuals annually through a comprehensive array of mental health services striving to help each individual to achieve their personal goals and to lead independent, healthy and successful lives. For information, visit www.mhawestchester.org.