Billings News

Dec 14, 2012 6:20 PM by David Jay - MTN News

Psychologist's tips on assuring children after traumatic news

BILLINGS - With the news of a fatal shooting at a Connecticut elementary school, a Billings psychologist says it's important for parents to talk with their children.

Friday morning's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary is one of the deadliest in history, with 26 people dead, 20 of them children.

While the tragedy is more than 2,000 miles away from Billings, it still affects children of all ages.

Dr. Michael Butz, past president of the Montana Psychological Association, says parents should let children know they're interested in what they're thinking. Dr. Butz also says it's important to let children know their home is a safe place and that they're not going to let that happen here.

Butz says children build up stress, fear and anxiety as they hear the news and see the pictures.

He says it will help to limit children's exposure to television and internet stories about the shootings.

Butz says parents can get help from the American Psychological Association help center.

For others, who may need to talk with someone, Butz recommends the Disaster Distress Help Line at 800-985-5990.

And if some one is having problems holding it together, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline would be a good resource. That number is 800-272-TALK OR 800-272-8225.

Dr. Butz advises that parents may need to watch the effects of the tragedy on children, for about one to two weeks.


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