Following such tragic situations like the one in East Lansing, mental health resources become extremely valuable in helping people cope with such traumatic incidents. There are resources available for help.
Mental health services are being offered to students by Michigan State University following the events of last night and this morning. And there is now a need to possibly explain such situations to our children.
It’s going to be needed says Dr. Chivvona Childs, a psychologist specializing in post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Childs says it's important to watch for signs that suggest a person is really struggling.
"The difference with the PTSD is that it's lasting for a long period of time. And, it's impacting your ability to function socially, occupationally, school, work. It impacts all those areas."
Several things to watch for include:
Becoming more easily upset or angry
Intense distress at reminders of the trauma
Disturbed or lack of sleep
Childs says a big danger is the affected person may begin to withdraw from others they may have previously been very close to. As someone begins to feel more isolated, they begin to trust less, push people away, and now lack more outlets for support. If you or someone you know needs help, there are several resources you may utilize to seek help.
Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services offers assistance when dealing with depression. Find resources .Pine Rest Depression
Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services offers a resource to help explain such tragic situations to kids. You can find information at Pine Rest.
The Grand Rapids Public Schools also offers several resources to help children through these difficult times. You can find information here at Resources.
Another resource is offered by Dr. Sanam Hafeez,an NYC Neuropsychologist and mother of two who offers tips on coping.
Pay attention to media consumption of the particular event – know when to turn the news off.
Understand that children have access to social media and hear everything at school- don’t shield them from the news, share what is age-appropriate and speak directly to their concerns and questions.
Get your family involved in a positive way- this can mean writing condolence cards, sending donations, or getting involved with charitable causes.
Force yourself and your children to do the opposite of what you feel- if you feel afraid to go to a museum, go anyway, if your child if fearful of going to school, encourage them to go anyway (assuming the shooting was not at their school)
Remember that celebrating life or happy times does not make you unsympathetic to current tragedies. It isn’t productive to wallow in grief by proxy
If leaving home if becoming problematic, this can lead to agoraphobia. Seek help from a mental help expert.