US What mental health experts say to their kids about school shootings

01:55  15 february  2018
01:55  15 february  2018 Source:   NBC News

To address mass shootings, then-candidate Trump proposed 'institutions' for 'sickos'

  To address mass shootings, then-candidate Trump proposed 'institutions' for 'sickos' Donald Trump was asked about the issue in an interview that aired on "Face the Nation" in 2016.Asked about moves to close the so-called gun show loophole, Mr. Trump said "right now, they have plenty of rules and regulations. And they should be looking at mental health. I mean, we should build like institutions for people that are sickos. We have sickos all over the place. And that's the problem.

Most of the mental health experts I spoke with strongly recommended having screen-free routine family time, and using that time to talk one-on-one with your kids about school shootings and any other issues that may be top of mind.

Advice for experts on how to explain the Newtown shootings to kids . Co-hosted by Carey Goldberg and Rachel Zimmerman. Judy Collins On Suicide, Mental Illness And The Story Her Voice Is Telling. Pediatricians and other child health experts strongly recommend that schools and parents avail

Image: LA Shooting AftermathPerhaps the most troubling issue for parents is that part of their job is to help their children feel safe in a world that can turn deadly in an instant. © Provided by NBCU News Group, a division of NBCUniversal Media LLC Image: LA Shooting AftermathPerhaps the most troubling issue for parents is that part of their job is to help their children feel safe in a world that can turn deadly in an instant. Like mass shootings in general, school shootings have gone from being a rare tragedy to a tragic reality. Already in 2018 there have been 17 instances of gun violence in U.S schools, including the shooting today at a Parkland, Florida high school. In one recent attack at a Kentucky middle school, two children were killed and 18 others were wounded when a fellow student opened gunfire. When I saw the news, I felt the all too familiar sinking in my gut, the clench of anxiety in my throat as thoughts of the victims and their families careened through my mind. I took a moment to do my version of praying for those affected and to ponder a question that has been on my mind since Sandy Hook: How can you possibly explain these shootings to your kids and how to do you talk about it?

Connecting mental illness and mass shooting misses the point, experts say

  Connecting mental illness and mass shooting misses the point, experts say <p>In the wake of the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, where a gunman killed 17students and staff, the Trump administration and many Republicans have saidthat the best way to end the seemingly constant stream of mass shootings is by combating mental illness.</p>In the wake of the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, where a gunman killed 17 students and staff, the Trump administration and many Republicans have said that the best way to end the seemingly constant stream of mass shootings is by combating mental illness.

Mental Health Expert : Parents Must Stop Being In Denial About Kids , Violence. Written By Lynette Holloway. He pumped several bullets in her head before heading out of the door and turning the gun on himself at the school after the shootings .

Ideally, security experts say , schools should have a “man-trap,” a set of outer doors that leads to a Adequate mental - health treatment for all students? “We’re trying to wrap our head around Talking to Your Kids About the Sandy Hook School Shooting ). Students may also play an integral role in

I put these questions to mental health experts who are also parents dealing with these concerns at home. Here are their best strategies to help the kids feel safe while you keep your own emotions in check.

Have Your Own Support System and Self-Care Rituals

For your own sake and your children's, it's critical that you make time to quell your own anxieties before diving into the issue at hand.

"To have these conversations open and honestly you need to take care of yourself as a parent," says Kristin Wilson, a licensed professional counselor and clinician with a teenage daughter. "Have your own support system in a spouse or friend or another go-to person, so that when you're talking to your child you've already processed through it."

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Blogs & Experts . Mental Health America offers the following suggestions for teachers and parents as they begin discussions with young people regarding the recent school shootings in Chardon, Ohio Encourage them to share their concerns about school safety with school officials.

Video: What do you say to your kids ? Open in new window. msnbc.com staff and news service reports. Teens and adolescents may minimize their concerns outwardly, but may become argumentative, withdrawn, or allow their school Related: Children's health , School shooting .

Wilson adds that she experienced her own scare when her daughter's school was on lockdown for over six hours due to the possibility of a shooter. She found out on the news, when it was leaked to a local media network.

"I was on the phone with my partner and my friends trying to process everything," she says. "Having your own support group is important as is indulging in self-care so you're not so reactionary. Yoga, mindfulness practice, exercise and really anything you can do to better your mental health is essential, because sadly, this is a reality now."

Let Your Kids Take The Lead

You may be unsure where to even begin with such a heavy topic. Consider asking your kids what their questions are before you give your two cents.

"It is often best to let your child take the lead in asking questions about difficult situations so that you only share what you feel is necessary to satisfy their inquiries," says Dr. Allison Agliata, a clinical psychologist, head of an independent middle school in Tampa Bay and the mother of three children ages 12 and younger. "Otherwise, as parents, we tend to either share too little and leave them wondering, or over-explain and freak them out."

Obama calls for 'gun safety laws’ following Florida shooting

  Obama calls for 'gun safety laws’ following Florida shooting Former President Barack Obama reminded the country “we are not powerless” in the face of gun violence.At least 17 people were killed and more than a dozen wounded after a gunman opened fire in the hallways of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Wednesday. After a brief manhunt, local police arrested 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, who has since been charged with 17 counts of pre-meditated murder.

Experts who study school shootings , and friends and classmates of Sharpe, say this storyline is overly simplistic. The shooter ’s mental health , home life and school life all need to be considered.

With proper support, many children are able to move on from traumatic events, experts say . Based on experience, Garbarino estimates that 85% of kids would return to normal functioning, from a mental health standpoint, within a year after an event like the Connecticut shooting .

Set A Time To Talk Daily Or Weekly With No Screens

Most of the mental health experts I spoke with strongly recommended having screen-free routine family time, and using that time to talk one-on-one with your kids about school shootings and any other issues that may be top of mind. For Wilson, this means a daily check-in at the dinner table.

"Sometimes my check-in is as simple as, 'How was school today?' And other times it's a more uncomfortable topic about drugs and alcohol or school violence," says Wilson, adding that this longstanding ritual has enabled her daughter to always count on this time to talk, trusting that it's a space to discuss both the good and the bad. "If you set the groundwork early, they will naturally come to you with concerns as well as really awesome things."

And it doesn't have to be at the dinner table. Christopher Gerhart, a licensed and certified substance abuse counselor finds that he and his preteen daughter have their best talks about serious matters such as gun violence while he walks her to school. Kelley Kitley, a licensed clinical social worker talks with her four kids ages 11 and under individually at bedtime.

Experts warn against connecting mental illness and mass shootings

  Experts warn against connecting mental illness and mass shootings A report published by the APA says that fewer than 1 percent of firearm homicides are committed by a person diagnosed with a mental illness. Metzl has researched the correlation between mental illness and gun violence, and he said that it's a tenuous connection at best."There's no mental illness diagnosis that explains causality," Metzl said. "There's no mental illness whose symptoms are shooting anyone else. Most mental illnesses cause people to withdraw from society.

According to the National Center for PTSD, as many as 77 percent of kids who witness a school shooting may develop post-traumatic stress disorder, a mental health A certain amount of anxiety is normal — even expected — she says , but for some kids , the effects may be more severe and lasting.

"The key in all of this," he says , "is that school shooters are relatively rare, given the high proportion of kids who are shy. Our research shows that 40% or more, almost 50% [of the population] is shy. Time for a Mental Health Check. Why Am I So Angry?

"For us it's a lot calmer. Our household is chaotic [during the day], but at that time lights are dim. It's usually about 15 minutes each and they really look forward to it," Kitley says. Dr. Agliata has found bedtime works best for her family as well adding, "we reflect on the day and they have some one on one time with me to share their thoughts."

Teach Them How To De-Stress With Breath-Work and Gratitude

The choice to talk deeply to kids at bedtime could have parents asking, "Can't that create anxious thoughts?" Not if your kids are equipped with de-stressing mechanisms such as deep breathing exercises.

"They lay on the bed, hands on tummy inhaling through their nose, then blowing out like they're putting out a candle," says Kitley of the technique she teaches. "And they take five long deep breaths."

After talking, Kitley also has her kids focus on the stuff they enjoy rather than the stuff they fear.

"I say, 'think of five things you really loved about your day.' It's a way of acknowledging that, yes, bad things happen to good people but let's be grateful for where we are. It's not avoiding, but rather validating how they're feeling and understanding what is our reality right now."

Encourage Your Kids To Feel Their Feelings

If your child is really upset about this or other issues, that's okay too. Allow them to experience those feelings rather than to suppress them.

Trump raises concerns about impact of violent movies: 'Maybe they have to put a rating system for that'

  Trump raises concerns about impact of violent movies: 'Maybe they have to put a rating system for that' President Trump on Thursday warned about the influence of violence in movies while discussing school safety and mass shootings, suggesting it could be a contributing factor to recent mass shootings.&nbsp;Trump made the comments during a meeting at the White House on school safety attended by lawmakers and top administration officials, where the president addressed a number of issues in addition to gun violence.

School Shootings and Student Mental Health . 1) Clarify the roles and responsibilities of the school social workers, counselors, psychologists, nurses, teachers and administrators in their work with students who have mental health disorders.

Related. royals Kate Middleton Delivers Rare Speech About Kids ' Mental Health . Self-harm, which some experts say is on the rise, is perhaps the most disturbing symptom of a broader psychological problem: a They've never known a time when terrorism and school shootings weren't the norm.

"[My son] is inundated with violent videos being shared on Snapchat of fights at school," says Lynn Zakeri, a licensed clinical social worker and the mother of two adolescents. "I talked with him recently about allowing himself to have feelings about these videos: be overwhelmed; be worried; be sad; be scared, and then, more importantly, have empathy. These are natural responses. Allow them to happen."

Don't Make Promises You Can't Keep — But Do Assure Them

Perhaps the most troubling issue for parents is that part of their job is to help their children feel safe in a world that can turn deadly in an instant.

"The truth is, they trust me to keep them safe," says Zakeri. "I can't succumb to what if's because they are not practical and they perpetuate anxiety. Instead I focus on what we have control over. I don't make promises I can't keep."

Zakeri likens this to the sort of talks they have when getting on an airplane. "[Saying] 'I promise you will be safe' is very different than, 'We can only trust what we know for sure which is [X,Y,Z].'"

But perhaps the most important thing you can do in all of this, is what you're already doing: loving your kids and putting care and time into how you address these frightful facts of life.

"As long as parents are putting thought, energy and love into their conversations, it is unlikely you are going to really mess things up," says Dr. Agliata, adding that even she wishes she had more definitive answers for her children about why violent situations occur and how we could stop them. But she doesn't. "Humanity is complicated and so rather than concentrating on the fear of what could happen, my main objective is to instill a sense of power in my children so that they don't let random, single incidents impede their love of life and quest for adventure. There is so much to experience in life that I never want them to take the safe route out of fear."

After deadly shooting, Florida governor calls for raising minimum age to buy firearms

  After deadly shooting, Florida governor calls for raising minimum age to buy firearms Florida Gov. Rick Scott Friday announced a comprehensive plan to keep students safe.A former student fatally shot 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on February 14, sparking once again heated debate over the middle point between Second Amendment rights and student safety. "We must take care of our kids," Scott, a Republican, said in a news conference announcing his plan.

School -based mental health care. One of the most ambitious approaches for treating children Today, Minnesota has the largest school -based mental health program in the country. Without the ordinary barriers to getting help, most kids completed their treatment, Lepinski says .

For school counselors and mental health experts , responses like Grimm's raise profound concerns "Normally, we put out guidance around a terrorist attack or a high-profile school shooting ," Cowan told Live Science. "We want kids , when they have a problem, to reach out and seek help from an adult.

Related video: When to Talk to Your Kids about Guns. Provided by The Doctors

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Florida victim's mom screams: 'Trump stop guns getting into children's hands' .
The anguished mother of a girl slain with 16 other people by a gunman at a Florida high school took to national television on Thursday to angrily demand that U.S. President Donald Trump "do something" to protect school children from gun violence. "President Trump, you say what can you do? ... You can do a lot," Lori Alhadeff shouted into the camera in an emotionally raw appearance on CNN. Fighting tears, her voice quaking with anger, she screamed, "Do something. Action. We need it now. These kids need safety now.

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