OHIO COUNTY, W.Va. (WTRF)- After sheer tragedy struck last week in Weirton, how do we pick up the pieces? Especially for young children and adolescents, how do they come to terms with shootings and death in the community? 7News spoke with one local medical professional about what to do.
After talking with a psychologist about this horrible time, she says we have to be aware of kids’ developmental levels. And there’s not a “one size fits all” reaction to this kind of tragedy.
Young kids can express anger, fear, sadness, and confusion. All which can affect their sleeping and eating. They may become withdrawn. And sometimes older teens may feel more comfortable talking about it. Although it’s easier said than done, keeping kids on a scheduled routine will help get things back to normal as much as possible.
Dr. Patricia Bailey, of Bailey Behavioral Health, told 7News, “There’s no way to really prepare for tragedy other than to try to reassure your children that you’ll do everything you can to keep them safe, what are the precautions maybe schools are taking, what resources are they implementing to try to help students talk about their grief and their loss, but I think overall sometimes when you have tragedy there’s a sense of community a sense of continuity where people come together I use the example of 9/11 after that you saw a real strong effort to come together.”
These reactionary behaviors can typically last 4 to 6 weeks, but any longer it is recommended to speak with a medical professional. Dr. Bailey also says for kids to avoid looking at social media and other platforms over and over, so to not re-live the trauma.