From time to time, there are tragedies that stop each of us in our tracks. It’s difficult to know what to say, or how to process the images and stories that come across our TV screens, invading our thoughts with the senselessness and cruelty of actions beyond our comprehension. Harder still is the task of talking to our children about these events, helping them to feel safe and alleviating any anxiety they may experience as a result of such terrible news.
Below is a list of resources that can provide strategies and talking points for helping parents, guardians, teachers, and other adults in talking to children about tragedy.
Offers Immediate Crisis Counseling. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746.
Sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Helpline immediately connects callers to trained and caring professionals from the closest crisis counseling center in the nationwide network of centers. Helpline staff will provide confidential counseling, referrals, and other needed support services.
The Disaster Distress Helpline is a 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week national hotline dedicated to providing disaster crisis counseling. The toll-free Helpline is confidential and multilingual, and available for those who are experiencing psychological distress as a result of natural or man-made disasters, incidents of mass violence, or any other tragedy affecting America’s communities.
The texting service also is available for Spanish speakers. Text “Hablanos” to 66746 for 24/7 emotional support.
- Helping Our Children Feel Safe – PBS Arthur program helps parents explain upsetting and frightening events to young children
- Helping Kids Navigate Scary News Stories – PBS
- 5 Tips on Talking to Children About Scary News – CNN
- How To Talk To Kids About Tragedies In The Media – Child Development Institute
- Talking about Tragic Events – Children’s Trust Fund
- Helping Children Cope with Tragedy Related Anxiety – Mental Health America
- A National Tragedy: Promoting Tolerance and Peace in Children – NASP Resources