PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Many people are struggling with a range of emotions following Tuesday’s Texas school shooting, and handling all of those feelings can be especially hard for children.
In addition to sadness and anger, Tuesday’s massacre may also trigger fear for many parents and children. Experts say it can be important to find ways to discuss the events in order to process all of those emotions.READ MORE: Philadelphia Police Searching For Suspect Accused Of Fatally Shooting 77-Year-Old Man In Juniata
It’s an emotional gut punch watching the aftermath of the Texas school shooting.
“This has an impact on all of us and children, especially,” Ismael Alvarez said. “Really leading to a lot of distress, a sense of just, just fear, being scared, unsafe and causing a lot of anxiety.”
Alvarez, with Philadelphia’s Children’s Crisis Treatment Center, says schools are supposed to be safe places for kids. When they’re not, it can be complicated for kids to process.
“If children don’t receive support, I mean we see very unhealthy ways of coping with what’s happening,” Alvarez said.
Experts say asking questions and encouraging conversations can help children get back on track emotionally.
“Talking to them at their level in a concrete way, reassuring them,” said Marisa Azaret, a licensed clinical psychologist.
Adults are also dealing with emotional turmoil — everything from sadness to anger to fear.READ MORE: Montgomery County Officer Grazed By Bullet During Philly’s 4th Of July Fireworks Feels ‘Lucky’ To Walk Away From Incident
“When bad things happen, there’s nothing we can do to undo it,” Maureen Brogan said.
Brogan is the statewide director of Rutgers University’s Traumatic Loss Coalition for Youth Program.
“We know in the field of trauma, one of the best protective factors, as well as one of the best supports to get through this, is connectivity,” Brogan said. “So human connection, it’s like the social thing that feeds the soul. It feeds the heart.”
Brogan says it’s important not to be judgmental in how people react.
“Check in with yourself first to make sure you’re in a good enough place to have these conversations,” she said.
Effective coping mechanisms can be as simple as turning off coverage, taking deep breaths, or taking a walk outside.
“We’re in this together, things will get better, we can do this,” Brogan said. “And I think that messaging needs to come from the individual as well as collectively, to build back better.”MORE NEWS: PHL Airport Receiving $24 Million In Federal Funding For Terminal Improvements
Doctors say it’s also important to take a break from the discussion and focus on other things, but for some people, this is overwhelming. For more mental health resources, click here.