Washington, DC - People may experience a variety of feelings and thoughts after something like the tragedies in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio over the weekend. The American Red Cross has information people can use to cope in the aftermath of these shootings.

Something like this is upsetting for everyone involved. People near the emergency are affected, as well as people all over the country who may have family in the affected areas or people who are watching the media coverage of these tragic situations. It is difficult to understand why something like this happens or what is likely to happen in the coming days.

Children are especially at risk as they may become afraid that the events will happen again, or that they or someone in their family may be injured or killed. The damage, injuries and fatalities are difficult for them to understand. It is important to reassure children and talk to them in a calm manner. Their view of the world as a safe and predictable place is temporarily lost. How a parent or other adult reacts around the child following a traumatic event can determine how quickly and completely the child recovers.

STEPS TO HELP COPE People may be experiencing many different emotions like fear, anger, confusion, shock, disbelief, sadness and grief. These are all normal feelings after this type of event.

People’s reactions appear in different ways, not only in the way someone feels, but in the way they think and what they think about; their sleeping habits, how they go about daily living; and the way they interact and get along with others. Here are a few steps to help people cope:

  • This can be a stressful time, and it’s important for people affected by this incident to connect with and support each other.
  • Parents should let children talk about their fears and reassure them they are safe and will feel better as time passes.
  • This is a time when people should take care of themselves and their families. For example, they can try to surround themselves with people and activities that comfort them and should be careful not to overexpose themselves to media reports about the tragedy.
  • Stay informed, but limit exposure to media coverage of the events.
  • Take care of yourself. Eat healthy, drink plenty of water and get enough rest.
  • Be patient with yourself and others. It’s common to have any number of temporary stress reactions such as anger, frustration and anxiety.

To reach out for free 24/7 counseling or support, contact the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs’ to 66746.