Tagged Mental Health

Después del tiroteo “hay que respetar cómo los jóvenes lidian con sus sentimientos”

Estudiantes, profesores, familiares, están luchando por sobrellevar los terribles días posteriores a la masacre en la escuela secundaria Marjory Stoneman Douglas, en Parkland, Florida. Y una psicóloga de Maryland dice entenderlos especialmente.

Christine Sylvest, terapeuta infantil de Rockville, Maryland, tiene una perspectiva única. Creció en Coral Springs, Florida, y fue alumna de la escuela en donde murieron 17 estudiantes y profesores. Se mudó con su familia a Ashburn, Virginia, antes de su último año, en 1995.

“Para mí, esa fue mi escuela secundaria”, dijo en una entrevista con Kaiser Health News el miércoles 21 de febrero. “Puedo imaginarme en ese pasillo, y puedo imaginarme el horror”.

Sylvest habló sobre cómo los adolescentes en Stoneman Douglas y en otros lugares pueden lidiar con sus sentimientos y cómo los padres y educadores deberían responder.

Hemos visto estudiantes de Stoneman Douglas, y otros en todo el país, marchando, participando de protestas. ¿Es algo terapéutico para ellos?

Si, absolutamente. Es realmente una forma saludable para estos adolescentes que han vivido un episodio muy traumático de hacer algo con la reacción inicial de enojo, incredulidad y conmoción. Y esta también es una forma con la que otros adolescentes pueden lidiar con sus sentimientos de enojo y desesperanza.

La psicóloga de Maryland, Christine Sylvest, quien fue estudiante de Stoneman Douglas High School, en Parkland, por tres años, dijo, “para mí esa fue mi escuela. Puedo imaginarme en el pasillo y puedo imaginarme el terror”. (Aiste Ray/Bee Me Photo)

¿Cómo pueden los padres ayudar a sus hijos adolescentes a lidiar con sus sentimientos después del tiroteo?

Los padres no deben tener miedo de abordar el tema con sus hijos y preguntarles qué saben al respecto. Los niños han visto mucha información en los medios tradicionales y en las redes sociales sobre el tiroteo. Los padres deben simplemente escuchar y luego validar el sentimiento de su hijo diciéndoles que es comprensible sentir enojo, miedo y ansiedad.

¿Qué deberían decirle los padres a los niños que están preocupados por ir a la escuela?

Los padres deben enfatizar que las escuelas son en realidad lugares bastante seguros. El tiroteo en la escuela está recibiendo mucha cobertura porque sucede muy raramente. Hay que enfatizar las cosas específicas que la escuela de su hijo hace para mantenerlos a salvo, como simulacros de incendio o si entra un intruso. Y decirles que si ven algo [sospechoso], pueden decírselo a un profesor, administrador o consejero. Pueden decirles a los niños que todo es posible, pero que hechos como este ataque son poco probables. Hay que darle al hijo información concreta sobre lo que está haciendo su escuela para mantenerlos a salvo.

¿Cuáles son las implicaciones a largo plazo para la salud mental y el bienestar de los niños de Stoneman Douglas?

Preocupa que desarrollen síntomas de trastorno de estrés postraumático. No les pasará a todos los que vivieron esta tragedia, pero algunos pueden tener síntomas. Esto incluye pesadillas y escenas retrospectivas, y revivir del trauma. Alarmas de incendio o ruidos fuertes pueden desencadenar que recuerden los disparos. El procesamiento de esta experiencia es más como una maratón para algunas personas, y, definitivamente, podría requerir apoyo de la familia y la comunidad, y terapia.

¿Los niños de Parkland, una comunidad relativamente privilegiada, se ven afectados de manera diferente ante un tiroteo que, por ejemplo, los adolescentes que crecen en Chicago u otros lugares donde pueden estar más expuestos a la violencia por armas de fuego?

Estos eventos pueden ser aún más traumáticos en otras áreas del país donde la violencia con armas de fuego es más común y en donde los niños tienen más experiencia con estos eventos. Niños que no han pasado por un trauma antes y generalmente no temen por su seguridad: estos son factores que los protegen. Entonces, en ese sentido, los niños en Parkland están más protegidos de desarrollar síntomas de trauma que los niños que no viven en áreas seguras.

¿Cómo pueden los padres y las escuelas ayudar a los adolescentes de Parkland a recuperarse?

Las rutinas son muy importantes para ayudar a los niños a sentir normalidad, pero es importante respetar la forma en que los niños quieren lidiar con sus sentimientos, y se debe respaldar cualquier cosa dentro de lo razonable. Es importante que los niños vuelvan a la escuela, pero cada uno puede estar listo en distintos momentos. En Stoneman Douglas, los maestros y los administradores realmente van a tener que prestar atención al estado emocional de los niños y facilitar su regreso. Ningún niño puede saber cuándo sus sentimientos intensos se vayan a interponer en el camino.

After Shooting, ‘Honor How Kids Want To Deal With Their Feelings’

With so much coverage of last week’s grisly school shooting in Parkland, Fla., students, parents and others are struggling to cope.

Christine Sylvest, a child psychologist in Rockville, Md., has a unique perspective. She grew up in Coral Springs, Fla., and attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the site of the shooting that left 17 people dead. She moved with her family to Ashburn, Va., before her senior year in 1995.

“For me, this was my high school,” she said in an interview with Kaiser Health News on Wednesday. “I can image being in that hallway, and I can only imagine the horror.”

Sylvest talked about how the teenagers at Stoneman Douglas and elsewhere can work through their feelings and how parents and educators should respond. Her comments have been edited for length and clarity.

Q: We’ve seen students at Stoneman Douglas and others around the country march in protests. Is this therapeutic for them?

Yes, absolutely. It is really a healthy way for these teens who have been traumatized to do something with the initial reaction of anger and disbelief and shock. And this is a way for other teens to also deal with their feelings of anger and hopelessness.

Maryland child psychologist Christine Sylvest, who spent three years as a student at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., says, “For me this was my high school. I can image being in that hallway and I can imagine the horror.” (Aiste Ray/Bee Me Photo)

Q: How can parents help their teenage children deal with their feelings following the shooting?

Parents need not to be afraid to broach the subject with their kids and to ask them what they have seen about it. Kids have seen a lot of information in traditional and social media about the shooting. Parents need to just listen and then validate their child’s feeling by telling them that it is understandable to feel anger, fear and anxiety.

Q: What should parents tell kids who are worried about going to school?

Parents need to emphasize that schools are actually pretty safe places. The school shooting is getting a lot of coverage because it happens so rarely. Emphasize the specific things that their child’s school does to keep them safe, such as fire or intruder drills. And tell them that if they see something [suspicious], they can tell a teacher, administrator or guidance counselor. You can tell kids that anything is possible, but few things like this attack are probable. Give your child concrete information about what  their school is doing to keep them safe.

Q: What are the long-term implications for the mental health and well-being for the kids at Stoneman Douglas?

There are concerns about them developing post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. Not everyone who went through it will, but some may have symptoms. This includes nightmares and flashbacks and intrusively reliving elements of the trauma. Such things as fire alarms or loud noises can trigger reminders of gunshots. Processing this experience is more of a marathon for some people, and it absolutely could take community and family support and therapy.

Q: Are the children in Parkland, a relatively upscale community, affected differently from the shooting than teens growing up in Chicago or other places where they may be closer to gun violence?

Other areas of the country where gun violence is more common and where children have more experience with it in some ways can make this event even more traumatizing for them to witness. Kids who have not been through a trauma before and generally do not fear for their safety — these are protective factors. So in that community sense, kids in Parkland are more protected from developing symptoms of trauma than kids who are not in safe areas.

Q: How can parents and schools help teens in Parkland try to recover?

Routines are very important to help kids feel normal, but it’s important to honor how kids want to deal with their feelings, and anything within reason should be supported. It is important that kids get back to school, but it may be an individual thing when kids are ready. At Stoneman Douglas, teachers and administrators are really going to have to pay attention to the emotional status of kids and ease them back in. No kid can learn when their feelings are in the way.

Q: Having gone to school at Stoneman, you have a close connection to the shooting. Can you talk about that?

I don’t have family down there anymore. So, for me personally, my memories begin in that high school. I just know it’s affected the whole community.

Any connection we have to something that is happening puts us in the shoes of the victims. Anytime you have a path to empathy — whether it’s being a parent or a high school kid or a band parent or a kid in the junior ROTC — has a powerful point of view that can make these things more upsetting, more traumatic and cause more grief and sadness. That is absolutely normal to feel, and human. And it can be used as a way to not only deepen your understanding and caring for other people, but you can use that closer connection to better talk to your kids or spur you to action such as contributing to a victims’ fund or make sure your kids’ school has an intruder drill.

After Shooting, ‘Honor How Kids Want To Deal With Their Feelings’

With so much coverage of last week’s grisly school shooting in Parkland, Fla., students, parents and others are struggling to cope.

Christine Sylvest, a child psychologist in Rockville, Md., has a unique perspective. She grew up in Coral Springs, Fla., and attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the site of the shooting that left 17 people dead. She moved with her family to Ashburn, Va., before her senior year in 1995.

“For me, this was my high school,” she said in an interview with Kaiser Health News on Wednesday. “I can image being in that hallway, and I can only imagine the horror.”

Sylvest talked about how the teenagers at Stoneman Douglas and elsewhere can work through their feelings and how parents and educators should respond. Her comments have been edited for length and clarity.

Q: We’ve seen students at Stoneman Douglas and others around the country march in protests. Is this therapeutic for them?

Yes, absolutely. It is really a healthy way for these teens who have been traumatized to do something with the initial reaction of anger and disbelief and shock. And this is a way for other teens to also deal with their feelings of anger and hopelessness.

Maryland child psychologist Christine Sylvest, who spent three years as a student at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., says, “For me this was my high school. I can image being in that hallway and I can imagine the horror.” (Aiste Ray/Bee Me Photo)

Q: How can parents help their teenage children deal with their feelings following the shooting?

Parents need not to be afraid to broach the subject with their kids and to ask them what they have seen about it. Kids have seen a lot of information in traditional and social media about the shooting. Parents need to just listen and then validate their child’s feeling by telling them that it is understandable to feel anger, fear and anxiety.

Q: What should parents tell kids who are worried about going to school?

Parents need to emphasize that schools are actually pretty safe places. The school shooting is getting a lot of coverage because it happens so rarely. Emphasize the specific things that their child’s school does to keep them safe, such as fire or intruder drills. And tell them that if they see something [suspicious], they can tell a teacher, administrator or guidance counselor. You can tell kids that anything is possible, but few things like this attack are probable. Give your child concrete information about what  their school is doing to keep them safe.

Q: What are the long-term implications for the mental health and well-being for the kids at Stoneman Douglas?

There are concerns about them developing post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. Not everyone who went through it will, but some may have symptoms. This includes nightmares and flashbacks and intrusively reliving elements of the trauma. Such things as fire alarms or loud noises can trigger reminders of gunshots. Processing this experience is more of a marathon for some people, and it absolutely could take community and family support and therapy.

Q: Are the children in Parkland, a relatively upscale community, affected differently from the shooting than teens growing up in Chicago or other places where they may be closer to gun violence?

Other areas of the country where gun violence is more common and where children have more experience with it in some ways can make this event even more traumatizing for them to witness. Kids who have not been through a trauma before and generally do not fear for their safety — these are protective factors. So in that community sense, kids in Parkland are more protected from developing symptoms of trauma than kids who are not in safe areas.

Q: How can parents and schools help teens in Parkland try to recover?

Routines are very important to help kids feel normal, but it’s important to honor how kids want to deal with their feelings, and anything within reason should be supported. It is important that kids get back to school, but it may be an individual thing when kids are ready. At Stoneman Douglas, teachers and administrators are really going to have to pay attention to the emotional status of kids and ease them back in. No kid can learn when their feelings are in the way.

Q: Having gone to school at Stoneman, you have a close connection to the shooting. Can you talk about that?

I don’t have family down there anymore. So, for me personally, my memories begin in that high school. I just know it’s affected the whole community.

Any connection we have to something that is happening puts us in the shoes of the victims. Anytime you have a path to empathy — whether it’s being a parent or a high school kid or a band parent or a kid in the junior ROTC — has a powerful point of view that can make these things more upsetting, more traumatic and cause more grief and sadness. That is absolutely normal to feel, and human. And it can be used as a way to not only deepen your understanding and caring for other people, but you can use that closer connection to better talk to your kids or spur you to action such as contributing to a victims’ fund or make sure your kids’ school has an intruder drill.

Some Gun Control Measures ‘On The Table’ For Trump Following Florida Shooting

President Donald Trump has directed the Justice Department to issue regulations banning so-called bump stocks, which convert semiautomatic guns into automatic weapons. But people familiar with the conversations say he is mulling going further — and perhaps putting himself at odds with the NRA. Meanwhile, students are still reeling from the psychological toll of the mass shooting.