As we begin to process the tragedy at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, it is important to remember that healing takes time. Over the next few weeks, try to give yourself the time and space you need to process your emotions, and ask for help from others when you need it.
Some of us are shocked and scared to send our children to school, while others may be outraged or shedding tears at work, in our cars or at home with our families. Please know that any emotion you are feeling or not feeling right now is valid.
Grief & Healing: One Day at a Time
You may be asking yourself: How do we heal from something like this? First, we must take the time to grieve and acknowledge that we are experiencing a local and community trauma. Grief is a complex process that looks different for everyone.
There are five common stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
These stages are not linear and people may experience some or none of them at all. Your grief may present physically, socially or spiritually.
Symptoms of grief
- Difficulty focusing or sleeping
- Questioning the purpose of life/spiritual beliefs
- Detachment and isolation from family, friends and coworkers
- Loss of appetite
These reactions are normal. If you notice these reactions among your friends, family or coworkers, reach out and offer to listen.
How to Talk to Your Children about the Uvalde School Shooting
It is highly important to help your children cope after a traumatic event like a school shooting. Depending on their age, they may have an acute understanding of the events. They may be picturing these events playing out in their own classroom. They are looking to you for reassurance, guidance and safety above all.
The Child Mind Institute developed a guide for parents to help their children through events like this.
Here are some tips from the guide:
- Explain things in the simplest yet most factual way you can.
- Maintain routines to reassure your child that their life can still be normal.
- Gauge if they want to talk about it, but don’t force it. If the moment isn’t right, offer to discuss the topic at a later time if/when they are ready.
- Invite their participation in the conversation:
- “What do you know about this incident?”
- “What questions do you have?”
- “How do you feel about what happened?”
- Actively listen to their fears and concerns.
- Remind them that they are safe; that you will do everything in your power to keep them safe, and that when they are at school, their teachers will do all that they can to keep them safe.
- Limit access to TV news and social media as needed to avoid secondary trauma.
How You can Help Uvalde
- Donate blood by scheduling an appointment online with Blood Donor Services.
- Donate online to the Uvalde Victims Relief Fund through the University Health Foundation; be sure to select “SP-Uvalde Victims Relief Fund” in the drop-down menu.
- Make an appointment to donate at the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center.
- The Hill Country Mental Health Center has public mental health services for Uvalde County residents.
- University Health Behavioral Health has compiled a list of community resources, including helplines and services.
- The Ecumenical Center for Education, Counseling, and Health provides counseling and support groups for people seeking mental and emotional healing.
- UT Teen Health offers a variety of resources that are not only geared toward teens, but adults and children as well.
- UT Teen Health also has a resource list, organized by city location.
- San Antonio Community Resource Directory (SACRD) provides a variety of resources based on your need and zip code.
- The Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas offers guidance for grieving adults, children, teens and spouses.
- San Antonio Metropolitan Health District’s Violence Prevention section utilizes trauma-informed programs and practices to support individuals and families in all life stages.
- The Center for Health Care Services provides integrated care to improve the lives of children and adults with mental health conditions, substance use challenges, and intellectual or developmental disabilities.
- ChildCareAware offers a national resource directory for helping children cope with traumatic events.
- MentalHealthTX offers a statewide directory of mental health services.