The Mental Health Association of Westchester sent in some tips knowing what resources are credible for advice for talking with children a week after the Newtown shootings:
Media coverage has inundated us with advice. Numerous experts have been interviewed and resources posted. To help, The Mental Health Association of Westchester (MHA) offers suggestions for identifying credible resources. Most children are resilient, and for most, time spent with family along with reassurance about their own safety will be sufficient. However, for some families and children, additional support is warranted.
While our personal digital worlds are filled with articles and links, we need just one or two we can rely on. Credible resources draw on a body of information from the field of disaster mental health response.
The most useful advice can be distilled into a few key points, such as in the article written by Dr. Lloyd Sederer, Medical Director of the New York State Office of Mental Health and Dr. Eva Alisic, Ph.D. The full article is published on the Huffington Post here.
For additional resources, MHA suggests relying on information posted by national organizations and government resources that routinely address mental health concerns. Among these are:
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network offers several pieces for talking with children of varying ages, including pre-school aged children. The NCTSN, a collaboration of providers, researchers, and community, offers expertise in all issues related to child trauma. It is funded by the Center for Mental Health Services of the US Department of Health and Human Resources.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) provides an online booklet that helps parents speak with their children about violence and disasters. NIMH is a federal agency dedicated to research for the prevention, recovery and cure for mental health disorders.
Concerned about your child or yourself? If you do not have a relationship with a mental health provider, The Mental Health Association of Westchester County can provide services for adults and for children of all ages. To schedule an appointment, please call us at (914) 345-0700 ext. 7350. or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For immediate assistance, MHA offers walk-in services at clinics in Mt. Kisco (344 Main Street, Suite 301) and White Plains (300 Hamilton Avenue, Suite 201). Both are open Monday to Thursday 9am to 6pm and Friday 9am to 3pm.
MHA is a community-based mental health agency that has been helping Westchester County residents for 66 years through direct services, professional and community education and advocacy. MHA supports 20,000 individuals annually through a comprehensive array of mental health services striving to help each individual to achieve their personal goals and to lead independent, healthy and successful lives. For information, visit www.mhawestchester.org.
Photo: Jacqueline Silberbush