Community Reach Center extends its condolences to the victims’ families and all individuals affected by the recent tragedy in Thornton. We are here to help anyone who is struggling emotionally because of this and other recent events by offering …
Community Reach Center extends its condolences to the victims’ families and all individuals affected by the recent tragedy in Thornton. We are here to help anyone who is struggling emotionally because of this and other recent events by offering suggestions on how to stay healthy and gain proper support and resources.
It is common to experience a variety of strong reactions to tragedy, and it’s important to remember that you don’t need to go through it alone. The first step is to reach out to those you trust and love for support such as family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors and spiritual advisors. By reaching out, you take an important step in the healing process not only for you, but for the people you reach out to, by demonstrating that it’s okay to talk about tragedy.
When talking to children, explain the facts of the situation in a manner appropriate for their age. Let them talk about fears, but don’t force them to talk if they don’t want to. It can be helpful to restrict your child’s media exposure around a tragic event so as not to traumatize them with disturbing images and descriptions. That goes for adults, also.
Reassure them that these tragedies are not common and that they are safe to carry out normal routines and activities such as going to school and playing with friends. It’s important to try and maintain normal family routines, however it may be helpful to give your child a flexible bedtime or allow them to sleep with you to help them feel secure.
Encourage children to talk about confusing feelings, worries, daydreams and disruptions of concentration. Tell them that these are normal reactions. Some children may be hesitant to talk about their feelings, so you may want to ask what your child has heard and how they feel about it. If the child says that she doesn’t want to talk about it, that’s okay. Give her time.
A common pitfall is to set aside your physical health during times of high stress and load up on “comfort food” that’s high in fat, sodium and sugar. Research tells us that we’ll actually manage symptoms of stress much better by eating well rounded meals and engage in physical activity daily. Aim to increase your intake of vitamin B and C as well as foods high in calcium because these nutrients are essential to your body during times of stress. It’s best to avoid excessive use of alcohol and caffeine.
In the aftermath of a traumatic event, many people experience sense of fear, uncertainty, apprehension, and anxiety, which can sometimes be brought on by a strong need for information and answers that are not yet available. Many feel powerless, depressed or irritable from an unrequited need to make sense of the situation. Sometimes these feelings can interfere with your ability to concentrate on tasks and also disrupt sleep. It’s important to remind yourself that the symptoms you or others are experiencing are typical reactions to traumatic events. Remember that your stress can have a physical effect on you and that all people respond differently to tragedy.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, you may want to consider talking to a mental health professional who can help you develop an appropriate strategy for moving forward. Following a traumatic event, if you find you are unable to function in your personal relationships or tend to your daily responsibilities for more than two weeks following the event, give yourself permission to seek professional support.
The Colorado Crisis Services 24-hour support line is 1-844-493-TALK (8255) and the CCS walk-in centers are open 24 hours a day. The Westminster Walk-In center is located at the 84th Avenue Neighborhood Health Center, 2551 W. 84th Ave.
For more information about Community Reach Center call 303-853-3500 or visit our website at www.communityreachcenter.org.