INDIANAPOLIS – Following Monday’s mass shooting in Nashville, mental health experts in Indiana say learning about mass shootings can be emotionally draining for many people, especially children.
“The mental health impact is tremendous,” said Kimble Richardson, a licensed mental health counselor with the Community Health Network. “It’s devastating whether you’re a parent or not just the fact that you’re a human being it is devastating news.”
But mental health professionals like Kimble also say sometimes it may be appropriate to have a conversation with kids about this issue.
“Try to let it happen organically,” Richardson said. “In other words, do the kids come and talk to the parents? Did the kids feel comfortable bringing up a situation?”
In other circumstances, parents may bring up the issue on their own if their children do not. Richardson that is perfectly normal, but it is always a good idea to do so very carefully.
“This is something terrible that happened to other children, I want you to know that we’re doing everything we can to make sure you’re safe,” Richardson demonstrated. “And we love you and care about you. And we want you to come and talk to us if you have any kind of concerns at all.”
Richardson said that sometimes children can be traumatized by events they experience for themselves, and events they hear about.
“When children experience a tragedy or trauma, it doesn’t automatically mean that they will be traumatized forever,” he said. “But it does mean that let’s do something about it. Ignoring it not talking about it doesn’t mean it goes away.”
Richardson said it is also very important to limit children’s access to video and images, like those released from Nashville body cameras.
”Young kids don’t need to see that video,” he said. “Young kids don’t need to experience it live and in person. That’s the tragedy.”
Experts like Richardson also suggest adults limit the amount of time they spend looking at these types of images and videos as well.
“Although we do, as adults, want to keep ourselves updated and aware of what’s happening around us, we do, frankly, want to limit the amount of time we watch these images,” Richardson said.