The immediate aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary mass murder included on-site counseling by the National Association of School Psychologists’ national emergency team. Yet, counseling for trauma, and particularly for grief, has only recently been examined for efficacy. What measures can parents, professionals, and society take to make this type of event less traumatic, and less likely to occur again?
The Role of Professionals
In the aftermath of a mass murder event, such as the one at Sandy Hook Elementary, the National Association of School Psychologists has a response team of specially trained counselors who are sent to the scene.
According to the Online Wellness Network, while the “majority of people who survive loss and trauma do not go on to develop PTSD some remain overwhelmed.” Trauma counseling is an attempt to circumvent that feeling of being overwhelmed and to help ”reintegrate” the self.
Dr. Stuart Goldman, a Harvard Medical School psychiatrist, urged parents in a USA Today interview to keep small children away from media coverage of events such as the Sandy Hook massacre. Peter Saxe, of the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the New York University and of the NYC Child Study Center, continued, “Tell your child clear answers to their concerns and assure them as much as possible.”
Violence and the Role of Society
Forensic clinical psychologist Dr. Dewey Cornell, director of the Youth Violence Project at the University of Virginia, reported in a PBS article, ”[p]revention has to start with mental health services and resources in the community to resolve problems and difficulties that people have long before they escalate into a serious violent situation.”
Sources: Decoded Science and EAP NewsBrief, a service of the Employee Assistance Professionals Association (EAPA) – www.eapassn.org