Essential Pittsburgh
4:01 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Ways to Help Young People Cope with Traumatic Events

Credit Victoria Pickering / Flickr

In the wake of the violent attacks at Franklin Regional High School, students and staff at the school have begun the process of coping with the traumatic event.

For young people this can be a particularly difficult journey. The Center for Victims is a victim advocacy group which offers support for those affected by violence.

Diane Dahm is director of prevention education and outreach and Toya Jones is a trauma therapist with the center. They explained how important it is to maintain a child's sense of normalcy while still keeping alert to any possible signs of trauma

1. Be aware of any changes in the child’s conduct. Concentration issues and extreme behaviors are signs of trauma that can manifest in students.

2. Provide a safe space for students to discuss their feelings and assure them that these feelings are normal.

3. Encourage a conversation about the traumatic experience and recognize that triggers can occur at any time. Allow time out of the normal schedule for discussion.

4. Attempt to keep things as consistent and routine as possible. Do not ignore any behavioral changes, but try to normalize daily life.

5. Give space to the student while coping, but know that healing is a process with no set duration.