WEST HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - A lot of families are grieving following the deadly stabbing that happened Monday in West Hartford.

Mental health professionals say the first step towards getting through this is often a conversation.

Mental health experts warn the tragedy in West Hartford will have multiple levels of impact.

“It has obviously a terrible impact on the individuals involved or the people directly related to the people involved. It also has an impact to people that live in the neighborhood the community that go to the same school system. So, it really has a ripple effect,” said Dr. Laura Saunders.

Psychologist Laura Saunders says in the days ahead many parents in Connecticut will face difficult conversations with their children about what happened.

Children will want answers, but Saunders urges parents to stick with facts.

“This is reality sometimes bad things do happen we need to address the bad thing that happened and find a way to contain it and find a way to kind of move on from there,” said Saunders.

Hours after the stabbing, West Hartford Superintendent Tom Moore recorded a voice mail for district families stressing that local schools will have grief counselors on hand in the days for anyone who needs help.

“In difficult times, we do all that we can to support our families, students, and staff members in dealing with crises,” Moore said.

On Tuesday morning, school officials sent a five-page letter to parents offering tips about supporting one another and how to help children cope with such a loss.

Read the full letter here.

Saunders appreciates Moore's message. She believes families should try not to dwell on why this happened but instead focus on how people can rely on each other to get through their grief.

“We really need to lend support and look at situations and tragedies like this as an opportunity to share more kindness and caring. With the people around you,” said Saunders.

Saunders says if you know this family, check in with your kids and ask how they are holding up, but don't push too hard if they don't want to talk about it.

Give them space unless you notice major shifts in their personality over an extended period of time.

The letter sent to parents suggests if anyone needs immediate assistance to call the school's counseling office or the 2-1-1 helpline.

Copyright 2018 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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