PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - After the largest shooting since Sandy Hook, many local high school students and parents are have reached out to Westbrook Health Services with questions.
On Thursday, we spoke to spokesperson Liz Ford on how to have conversations with your kids about school shootings.
She says students were wondering if these shootings will ever end, or if this Florida shooting will be forgotten by next week, and nothing will be done to prevent future shootings.
She says therapists at Westbrook recommend giving children a safe place to talk about school shootings, and to keep the conversations age appropriate.
If you see a child struggling mentally, they says you need to wrap their arms around them and provide support and resources. Be alert for signs of anxiety that might indicate your child needs more help. Other signs include changes in school performance, changes in relationships with peers or teachers, excessive worry, sleeplessness, nightmares, headaches, stomachaches or loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy.
They say to have conversations explaining that violence is never the answer, and if your house has access to guns, be responsible and teach your children to be responsible.
“The other thing we want to do is reassure them that although these things happen, and we don't want to lie, we want to be honest, that there are people out there that are looking out for them and protecting them constantly. Including their parents, their teachers, the administrators at the school, local law enforcement and let them know that we do try to keep them safe every day." says Liz Ford.
She also says that as parents it's important to be calm before having these conversations with your kids, and make sure you have a grasp on the subject yourself. Whether you take a walk around the block, count to ten, or talk to friends about your own feelings on the subject.