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Health: Coping With The Movie Theater Massacre

stephanie-web Stephanie Stahl
Stephanie Stahl, CBS 3 and The CW Philly 57’s Emmy Award-win...
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By Stephanie Stahl,

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - With fear and anxiety following the movie theater massacre, Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl is On Your Side with more on coping with violence.

There’s a wide range of reaction to the shooting. Everyone is shocked, some are angry, others scared. The Colorado Massacre has unnerved many Americans.

“We’ve got to talk to our kids to let them know it’s an isolated instance. It’s tragic. It’s horrible,” said Steve Hogan, Aurora, Colorado mayor. He’s acknowledging how troubling the massacre could be, especially for children.

“Batman to them might be a cartoon that is a benign, benevolent figure. So kids will be frightened, and they will verbalize their fears hopefully to their parents,” said Dr. Kevin Caputo, a Psychiatrist with Crozer Keystone Health System.

He says it’s important for both children and adults to talk about the tragedy.

It’s normal for people to be upset with what seems like overwhelming violence all around us. Just this week, there was the attempted abduction of a little girl in Philadelphia.

“I think this scares people. I think this makes people feel vulnerable,” said Dr. Caputo.

He says being with loved ones and sticking with usual routines will help people cope. Signs of trouble include nightmares, problems sleeping, moodiness, and a change in appetite.

“When people deal with fear and anxiety, there are a whole host of responses,” said Dr. Caputo.

One common response is many think the suspect must have been deranged.

“I want to emphasize that although this person probably had a mental health history, most people with a mental health history don’t go onto violent episodes,” said Dr. Caputo.

Dr. Caputo suspects investigators will find the suspect had a history of strange or suspicious behavior.

For more information on coping with a traumatic event visit www.bt.cdc.gov.

For more information on talking to children about tragedy visit www2.aap.org.