Help at hand for children dealing with trauma

Monday 14 January 2013

In the wake of the mass shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, the Australian Child and Adolescent Trauma, Loss and Grief Network (ACATLGN) based at ANU, has cautioned parents, carers and healthcare professionals to be mindful of the impacts this tragedy could have on Australian children.

ACATLGN Chairperson and Professor of Psychological Medicine at the ANU Medical School, Beverley Raphael AM, expressed the network's sadness over the shootings and reminded people of the support resourses available.

"We all extend our wishes and condolences during this tragic time.  We also recognise the great courage of both those who have died and those who have survived.  Parents, families and communities will be experiencing grief, sadness, anger and helplessness.

"Tragic incidents often lead us to be touched once more by our own traumas, our own losses, our own grief and these are often brought to the surface again by such experiences.  So it is an imortant time to recognise this grief and to comfort one another or even to seek help if the distress is very great.

"It is also a time to think about what impact this tragic news may have on children here in Australia.  In this era of almost unfettered access to the internet, news, media and social media, children and young people are often repeatedly exposed to tragedies, disasters and the horrors they bring.

"Young children can be especially affected by media coverage and school age children may feel frightened or concerned for their own safety.

"Limiting children's exposure to media can help, as can making sure that parents, carers and families spend time talking to their children, answering questions and providing information that is age appropriate," she said.

Further information and resources are available on the ACATLGN website,

The Trauma and Grief Network is funded by the Australian Government and part of The Australian National University's Australian Child and Adolescent Trauma and Grief Network.

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