While incidents of mass violence send shockwaves through families and communities in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, the trauma and mental health impacts can carry on for much longer. These tragedies encompass not only the grief and mourning of individual families, but of entire communities.
Young children and teens, in particular, often struggle to cope with grief, loss, and tragedy after such an event. We invite parents, caregivers, and educators to explore this page for resources and support regarding child trauma, grief, processing these events, moving through trauma, and more.
Tips for Talking With and Helping Children and Youth Cope After a Disaster or Traumatic Event
Children and youth can face emotional strains after a traumatic event such as a car crash or violence. Disasters also may leave them with long-lasting harmful effects. When children experience a trauma, watch it on TV, or overhear others discussing it, they can feel scared, confused, or anxious. Young people react to trauma differently than adults. Some may react right away; others may show signs that they are having a difficult time much later. As such, adults do not always know when a child needs help coping.
This tip sheet will help parents, caregivers, and teachers learn some common reactions, respond in a helpful way, and know when to seek support.
Coping Resources from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)
For Teens: Coping After Mass Violence
Parent Guidelines for Helping Youth After Mass Violence
Helping Youth after Community Trauma: Tips for Educators
Helping Teens with Traumatic Grief: Tips for Caregivers
Helping School-Age Children with Traumatic Grief: Tips for Caregivers
Helping Young Children with Traumatic Grief: Tips for Caregivers
The Power of Parenting: How to Help Your Child After a Parent or Caregiver Dies
Pause-Reset-Nourish (PRN) to Promote Wellbeing (for responders)
Psychological First Aid
Parent Tips for Helping Infants and Toddlers (En Español)
Parent Tips for Helping Preschoolers (En Español)
Parent Tips for Helping School-Age Children (En Español)
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) was created by Congress in 2000 as part of the Children’s Health Act to raise the standard of care and increase access to services for children and families who experience or witness traumatic events. The NCTSN is administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and coordinated by the UCLA-Duke University National Center for Child Traumatic Stress (NCCTS). Visit the NCTSN website for additional resources.