Local crisis lines; coping with tragedy; parenting helps

ST. GEORGE – As news surrounding the elementary school shooting in Connecticut continues to flood news and social media, a question arises on how to cope with the tragedy – even one taking place 2,000 miles away.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news,” Fred Rogers wrote, “my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”

The Utah Department of Human Services maintains crisis lines for people across the state for times when individuals feel the need to speak with someone else in the wake of a traumatic incident.

“Incidents such as these often incite high emotions and post traumatic stress disorder,” Elizabeth Sollis, public information officer for DHS, said in a release this afternoon, “thus, it is important for people to have (and) be aware of community resources.”

Regional crisis lines:

  • Washington County – 435-634-5600
  • Beaver, Garfield, Iron and Kane Counties – 800-574-6763

An entire listing of the state crisis lines are featured on the Utah DHS website.

Another factor parents may consider is how the media coverage of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., may affect their children.

Tips are supplied on the Kidpower website in an article by child safety expert Irene van der Zande.  One of the ways van der Zande suggests parents help their children is by taking charge of what media they are exposed to:

She wrote: “Media stories about tragic events can be compelling and cause us to believe that watching is doing something important and helpful.  The problem is that exposure to terrifying images and horrifying stories is often unnecessarily traumatizing for adults and kids alike. Seeing upsetting situations on TV can feel as if it is still happening right now, even though the event is over.

“Unless you are in the midst of an emergency where you truly need minute-by-minute updates for your safety, turn off the radio, television, and Internet so that kids are not bombarded with this information.  There is a difference between staying informed so we can take action if need be and becoming consumed with the need to know immediately in a way that becomes traumatic.”

The entire article can be accessed on the Kidpower website.


Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2012, all rights reserved.

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