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Boys Town psychologist: 'Just talk to (kids) about the fact that they are safe'

Expert advice on helping kids cope with tragedy
Posted at 5:40 PM, Feb 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-15 19:24:38-05

A mental-health organization headquartered in Omaha operates a South Florida facility taking referrals from the high school at the center of a deadly mass shooting.

Boys Town supervising psychologist Dr. Connie Schnoes says tragedies like Wednesday's deadly school shooting in Florida can be hard for young people to escape. Graphic images and videos taken inside the school as the shots were fired are everywhere on social media.

"Just talk to them about the fact that they are safe," Schnoes said. "That these events are things that we don't want to have happen, but they are a part of life."

RELATED: How to talk to your kids about a mass shooting

Mental health foundation director Julia Heberstreit says she works with schools, parents and students, to help everyone identify when someone may need help.

"I have a teenage daughter and I would like to think that every time something's wrong she comes to me but that's just not the case," She said. "So maybe her teachers are seeing something that I don't notice at home. Or, maybe she's behaving different at school than she is at home or with friends."

RELATED: Resources from Boys Town & beyond

For parents wondering how to best handle these situations, Schnoes says remaining in control is one of the simplest, yet most effective ways.

"They have to figure out what they need to do to cope with the event themselves but in front of their kids, it's handled," Schnoes said. "They've got it."