Mental health experts remind us to lean on each other for suppor - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Mental health experts remind us to lean on each other for support

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Police and rescue vehicles are shown outside Broward Health North hospital. A shooter opened fire at a Florida high school killing 17. (AP Photo/Joe Skipper) Police and rescue vehicles are shown outside Broward Health North hospital. A shooter opened fire at a Florida high school killing 17. (AP Photo/Joe Skipper)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

The shooting in Florida marked the 18th school shooting of 2018, and it’s only the 14th day of February.

Earlier this month, a 12-year-old girl opened fire inside a middle school classroom in Los Angeles, hurting several students.

Last month, a 15-year-old student killed two classmates and injured more than a dozen others at Marshall County High School in Kentucky.

In Connecticut, 26 students and educators were killed back in December 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown

These kinds of days are difficult for everyone, but one mental health expert says we can move forward by leaning on each other for support.

“It is a very much a ‘here we go again’ sentiment,” said Dr. Laura Saunders, who is a psychologist at Hartford Hospital.

She said some of her first thoughts center on how to help people who are once again trying to deal with unimaginable pain.

“It can be traumatizing for some people. It was a very difficult and painful time in our history,” Saunders said.

She said one of the biggest challenges parents face is what to tell children. 

She recommends shielding young kids from learning too much, but older children will have questions. Saunders says be honest but reassuring.

“It's about providing factual information and really being careful as a parent not to provide anxiety creating or inflammatory information,” Saunders said.

Saunders says remind children that school shootings are low probability events, but she also warns tragedies like this are often just as hard on parents as children.

“We need to focus on a way to soothe ourselves. I can pretty much guarantee that if we are focusing on all the negative things that have happened it's not going to soothe us,” she said.

Saunders also recommends parents who are fearful focus their energy on learning about the steps leaders at their local schools take to keep everyone as safe as possible. Try to think about how you can help rather than a worst-case scenario.

“If we are going to bed every day worrying that something bad is going to happen at our child's school...it's going to be really hard to send them to school the next day,” she said.

Saunders added to remember that many people are feeling just as vulnerable as you, and that we should try showing compassion.

This is a time to actually be kind to our friends and our neighbors and realize that we need to help each other, not create more divisiveness and divisions,” Saunders said.

If you are feeling a little overwhelmed, you can find some mental health resources here.

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