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How to cope with tragedy for ourselves and our children

Posted at 7:02 PM, Oct 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-03 10:21:26-04

Fox 13 spent some time with two mental health professionals, and received  advice on how to cope with events in Las Vegas, and other tragedies in the news.

Douglas Goldsmith is Executive Director of the Children's Center.  He said to avoid letting children third grade or younger watch the news, especially when something tragic has happened.

"It's simply too distressing. All they can see is if this is happening there, it must be happening outside our front door," Goldsmith said.

Goldsmith suggests talking to young children about current events, and being receptive to how they feel. He also suggests reassuring young children that they are safe.

You could tell them, "We're keeping track of things for you, and if we think there's something for you to know we'll let you know about it right away." Goldsmith said.

Of course, all of that reassurance doesn't mean much if it's coming from parents and other adults who are clearly anxious, fearful or angry.

Dr. David Derezotes of the University of Utah College of Social Work says the key for adults is to use traumatic news as a reminder to focus on how we react to negative influences in our lives.

"Whenever there's an event like this, there's another opportunity for me to understand what is difficult in my life and how I deal with those difficulties. And the way that I deal with that can improve the rest of my life," Derezotes said.

Derezotes said it is important for people to remember that positive things also can happen in the world.

"Remember that with all the weaponry we have to kill each other, that we also have the ability to house everybody on the planet, feed everybody on the planet, take care of people who are harmed by hurricanes," Derezotes said.

Although it can be hard to get away from the news, Derezotes stressed the importance of stepping away, and taking time to process things.

"Playing the scene over and over again for people may not be particularly helpful," Derezotes  said.