Published on March 28, 2023
How to Help Children and Teens Cope with Grief in the Wake of The Covenant School Shooting
Nashville, TN (Tuesday, March 28, 2023) – Alive, the only nonprofit provider of hospice care and end-of-life services in Middle Tennessee is offering resources to help parents support grieving children in the wake of the tragic shooting at The Covenant School. Alive’s Grief Center counselors specialize in bereavement. They also work with area schools to support grieving children and train staff on developmentally appropriate ways to address death and grief with students.
“As a community, we are deeply grieving the loss of Evelyn Dieckhaus, 9; Hallie Scruggs, 9; William Kinney, 9; Cynthia Peak, 61; Katherine Koonce, 60; and Mike Hill, age 61,” said Kimberly Goessele, President/CEO of Alive. “We are also struggling with the shattered sense of safety that comes from such shocking and unexpected violence. As the adults, we know we need to comfort and guide the younger members of our community through this crisis. But many of us don’t know where to begin, especially while coping with our own grief. Alive is sharing resources to help our community get through this tragedy.”
Free Information Sessions: Support Your Grieving Child
Alive’s Grief Support Team is hosting two free information sessions, “Support Your Grieving Child,” on April 6 to help parents support grieving children in developmentally appropriate ways. Thanks to our generous donors, this class is free.
Attendees will learn:
- How to help a grieving child or teen when you are also broken-hearted
- When to seek professional support
- How grief impacts children of different ages
- How adults can support children in a developmentally appropriate way
Tips for supporting children and teens:
- Start by talking about the shooting. Most teens, and even younger children, will have heard about the shooting from overhearing parents, talking to friends, television, radio or social media. Keeping quiet can make the event even more frightening and won’t let you correct any misinformation they have or respond to their fears.
- Understand that children and teens will have individual emotional reactions. Some may experience disruptions of sleep and appetite. They may be anxious, have trouble concentrating or even become more defiant. They may want to stay physically closer to loved ones in the immediate aftermath for a feeling of safety. These responses are all normal and will likely subside in a few weeks.
- Encourage questions, and provide honest, direct answers. Children and teens, like adults, are better able to cope when they have information about the situation they are dealing with.
- Share information about the positive things that are being done to recover from a crisis. This can include help for victims and their families as well as any personal safety plan your family may have.
- Limit intake of media about the shooting. While it is important to discuss what happened, consuming too much media about the event can create more stress and fear and work against the sense of safety you are trying to reestablish for the young people in your life.
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network, www.NCTSN.org, is an excellent resource for more information on talking with your children.
Alive is the only nonprofit provider of hospice care and end-of-life services in Middle Tennessee. Its mission is to provide loving care for people with life-threatening illnesses, support to their families, and service to the community in a spirit of enriching lives. This includes in-home and in-patient hospice care, grief support, advance care planning, outreach, support to underserved communities, education about the end of life, financial assistance, a robust volunteer program, and clinician training through the Alive Institute. A pioneer in the “good death” movement, Alive established the third hospice in the nation in 1975. Today, it remains true to its roots as an innovator and leader, helping individuals live fully while approaching death. To learn more or volunteer, visit AliveHospice.org or call 615-327-1085.
About Alive’s Grief Center
Alive’s Grief Center offers a place of comfort for anyone facing a loss. Support is available to caregivers and families coping with a life-limiting illness as well as children and adults who are bereaved. Alive is a Childhood Bereavement Changemaker addressing the public health crisis of childhood bereavement. Our professional grief counselors have significant experience working with grieving families. Children 3 and up receive developmentally appropriate support through one-on-one counseling, family and youth support groups, expressive arts workshops, a family retreat and an overnight camp just for kids and teens. Thanks to generous donors, Alive can provide these services at an affordable rate to the entire community, not just those with a loved one in our care. We offer loss-specific support groups, family groups and expressive arts workshops for coping with grief each month: https://www.alivehospice.org/calendar/
Call 615-963-4732 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how we can help.
Media Contact for Alive:
Liz Haas, Director of Communications and Marketing