Coping with Anxiety and Enhancing Safety in the Aftermath of School Violence Thumbnail

Students who feel safe at school are much more likely to succeed in all aspects of their life not just in their academics.

Students who feel safe at school are much more likely to succeed in all aspects of their life, not just in their academics.

Our student's emotional and physical health and learning are interconnected. It's important that we do everything we can to increase the students - as well as the teacher and faculty's - feelings of safety at school.

By promoting emotional and physical safety, we can help students develop the resilience and coping skills they need to navigate challenges and succeed in school and beyond. This can have a positive impact not just on their academic performance, but on their overall health and well-being throughout their lives.

First and foremost, children who feel safe at school tend to go to school more often.

They have fewer physical ailments that keep them home sick, and they have less anxiety and depression about going to school. Once they're at school, they're able to focus on the lessons that are being taught without as much distractibility, anxiety, or worry about forms of violence that might occur in the school setting.

Students who feel safe can more easily let their guard down and socially relate to others. They can form connections that further improve their enjoyment of school and learning and extracurricular activities.

Knowing that there are so many law enforcement and academic professionals working to create physical safety for our children, for me, as a psychologist and mental health professional, the question becomes how can we create psychological and emotional safety for our children?

We, as parents, caregivers, staff members, teachers, administrators, and law-enforcement officials, need to be on the same team. We must understand, appreciate, and support our administrators and our law enforcement officials who are working overtime to use the most current research and cutting-edge technology and training available to us with one goal in mind: to keep our children safe.

Everyone involved has the same mission - keep our children safe. Our communities have suffered and know the pain of violence in our schools - losing precious children and teachers."Having consulted with several school districts and law-enforcement agencies over the past several years, I believe they are committed to violence prevention and rapid response."

"As a parent myself, I believe one of the most calming and influential things I can do for my children as they prepare to return to school is to convey my trust for their administrators and SROs who are working and training so diligently to protect them."

Parents and caregivers should be having conversations with their children every day.

If you realize that you are not doing this, start today. Even if it's a little awkward, in a week, it will be less awkward, and in two weeks, it will be smooth for you both. By talking to our children for 5 to 10 minutes a day about simple things and asking questions like:

  • How was your day?
  • What's on your mind?
  • Sharing with them how you're feeling
  • What is going on in your life?

We are creating normalcy and comfortability. When difficult topics arise that we need to discuss, the lines of communication are already open and paved, and the stage is already set.

School shootings are making a lot of parents very anxious, and rightfully so. Parents are sometimes more worried about it than even children are. children pick up on parent's fears. it's important that we can manage our own anxiety, so we are able to set an example for them..

This can involve developing strategies for managing anxiety, such as practicing mindfulness or engaging in physical exercise. By taking care of their own mental health, parents can better support their children during times of stress or uncertainty.

People who hurt themselves or others often show warning signs before they carry out an act of violence. In about four out of five school shootings, at least one other person had knowledge of the attacker's plan but failed to report it. It's important for all of us to be aware of the warning signs of violence and take action when we see them.

This may involve reporting concerns to the appropriate authorities or seeking help from a mental health professional. By being vigilant and proactive, we can help prevent violence and protect the safety of ourselves and those around us.

Some of the potential warning signs that a person might be in crisis or need help include:

  • Withdrawing from friends or family or activities
  • Bullying other people, especially in terms of differences in race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation
  • Excessive irritability, lack of patience, becoming angry very quickly
  • Expressing chronic loneliness or social isolation
  • Expressing persistent thoughts of harming themselves or someone else
  • Making direct threats toward a place, another person, or themselves,
  • Bragging about access to guns or weapon
  • Recruiting accomplices and audiences for an attack
  • Directly expressing a threat as a plan
  • Substance abuse or other high-risk behaviors, such as reckless driving or engaging in dangerous activities
  • Extreme or persistent feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, or despair
  • Exhibiting signs of paranoia, such as feeling like they are being watched or followed
  • Engaging in self-harm
  • Expressing a desire to die or a lack of interest in the future
  • Giving away prized possessions or making arrangements for their affairs as if preparing for their death
  • Having a history of violence or exhibiting aggressive behavior toward others
  • Having a history of mental health issues, such as anxiety disorders, depression, grief, or symptoms of trauma

While not all individuals who exhibit these warning signs will go on to commit acts of violence, it's important to take these signs seriously and seek psychological services if you are concerned about someone's well-being. Mental health services online can help identify and address underlying mental health issues and provide support and resources to individuals and families in crisis.

It is important to be open and honest with your children.

Don't be afraid to talk to your children about concerns they may have about safety in their school. Let them know they can talk to you or their teachers or a counselor if they feel overwhelmed. They can follow all the safety protocols in their school and report anyone that makes them feel unsafe.

By encouraging children to express their concerns and questions, we can help them feel heard and validated and also provide them with accurate information and guidance. We can let them know that we take their concerns seriously and are committed to doing everything we can to promote their safety and well-being. This can help create a sense of trust and connection that can promote positive mental health and resiliency.

Additionally, it is important to teach children about safety protocols and procedures in their school, such as what to do in the event of an emergency or how to report concerns. By empowering children with knowledge and skills, we can help them feel more prepared and confident in managing challenging situations.

If a child is feeling overwhelmed or struggling with an anxiety disorder, depression, grief, or symptoms of trauma related to school safety, it may be helpful to seek out psychological services.

Behavioral health services, such as online trauma therapy, can provide guidance and support for managing anxiety and stress related to school safety and can also help identify and address any underlying mental health concerns that may be contributing to these feelings. By working together and providing children with the support and resources they need, parents and teachers can help promote their safety, well-being, and success in school and beyond.

Online Mental Health Services

Creating a safe and supportive school environment is essential for promoting the emotional and physical well-being of students. While there are many challenges and complex issues involved in preventing school violence, there are also many steps that parents, caregivers, educators, and mental health professionals can take to promote safety and well-being.

Online mental health services, such as online trauma therapy, can provide convenient and accessible support for individuals who may be struggling with anxiety, stress, or other mental health concerns. At CHE Behavioral Health Services, we offer a range of mental health services online to help individuals and families cope with the challenges of modern life. By working together and taking a proactive approach, we can help create a safer, healthier, and more supportive world for everyone.

For more information about school safety and mental health services offered by CHE, please call 888-515-3834. We are ready to talk and ready to listen.

Dr. Dana Watson

VP of Quality Assurance, CHE Behavioral Health Services