Helping young people cope with trauma in wake of Dadeville mass shooting

Published: Apr. 20, 2023 at 6:48 PM EDT
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DADEVILLE, Ala. (WTVM) - The effects of the weekend mass shooting in Dadeville will be felt for a lifetime, and Dr. Chante Ruffin, MD of Heritage Pediatrics in Alexander City is sharing some advice for how to help youth cope with this tragedy.

“Make sure that your child feels safe,” Dr. Ruffin said. “Even when they are around you. Kind of reassure them ‘I understand what happened, it’s going to be okay’. That constant reassurance from you of ‘I’m here, I love you. Please come talk to me if you need anything.’ Make sure you as a parent and guardian are remaining calm. If you’re anxious about the situation, kids tend to feed off of that.”

Dr. Ruffin said it is also a good idea to stay away from social media while taking time to comprehend the tragedy that has happened.

“Try to avoid being on social media and TV too much because the constant reminder of everything is not a healthy way to get past what happened,” Ruffin said.

She added some other helpful tips below:

  • Don’t hesitate to reach out for help from medical and mental health professionals
  • Make sure your children feel safe
  • Try not to be anxious as an adult because that may stir anxiety in children
  • PTSD is a very real possibility for victims and people who were present during and after the violence
  • Watch for trouble sleeping, being withdrawn from the family, being angry, tearfulness or crying as signs for mental health needs
  • If the child shows signs of survivors guilt seek help from a professional