After a traumatic event, such as a shooting, “getting back to normal” is not the easiest thing to do, especially for kids. Depending on how close a child was to the shooting, whether they saw it, or if a friend or family member was involved, etc., will determine what kind of emotions the child will encounter.
Helping your child understand the events and deal with the emotions that follow is difficult, but it can be done, especially if you seek professional help.
If you can’t figure out what to do to comfort your child, you may want to look into enlisting some help. Thankfully, you have got some great options available.
Non-medical counseling services
If your child is having short-term problems in coping with a shooting, non-medical counseling options are probably your best bet:
- Child and youth behavioral military and family life counselors — You can request free, non-medical counseling for any military children 18 years old and younger with parental consent. These counselors specialize in children and youth, so they'll be a great resource to tap. Contact your installation's Military and Family Support Center, child development center or installation-based youth and teen centers for more information.
- Military OneSource — Military OneSource offers confidential help for children and youth with issues around family relationships, school, deployment, and grief and loss. Military children ages 6 through 12 can participate in family counseling with at least one parent attending each session. Youths from ages 13 through 17 are eligible for individual, face-to-face counseling through Military OneSource, but a parent must attend the first session. Children younger than 5 years old are not eligible for face-to-face, confidential, nonmedical counseling under the Military OneSource program. Video and over-the-phone, confidential, non-medical counseling services are not available for children and youth.
With more serious long-term issues, such as active suicidal or homicidal thoughts, or other mental health problems, especially those that have required hospitalization, psychoactive medication or therapy, check with TRICARE to identify the treatment services that are covered by your plan. Your child's primary care manager can refer your child to a network counselor or therapist if one is not available at the nearest military treatment facility.
A shooting can be an incredibly traumatic experience, but you have many options to help your child get through it and return to the joys of everyday life.