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Psychiatrist details how to talk to children about deadly elementary school shooting

19 children were killed in a mass shooting Tuesday in Texas
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Posted at 6:02 PM, May 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-26 12:23:16-04

BALTIMORE — Even thousands of miles away from Uvalde, Texas, the emotional impact from Tuesday's mass shooting is felt all across the globe.

The mass shooting that happened at Robb Elementary School claimed the lives of at least 19 innocent children, and no matter the distance shootings like this impacts us all.

Psychiatrist’s like Dr. Todd Peters, who's also the Chief Medical Officer at Sheppard Pratt, talked with WMAR-2 News about the mental health aspect this can have on people, and how parents can have a conversation about it with their children.

“For parents like myself, it's hard," Dr. Peters said. "It's harder, sending kids to school after an event like this. I'll be frank, you know, in sending my two kids to school today I gave him an extra-long hug today."

MORE: Officials explain how gunman entered Texas classroom, killing 19 students, 2 teachers

Texas School Shooting: What We Know

Dr. Peters said many people took this shooting personally, because going to school is a shared experience.

“I think it's very easy to put yourself in the shoes and understand how the parents, how the teachers, and how the students themselves must have felt being in that situation,” Dr. Peters said.

Local psychiatrist talks about mental impact of Texas shooting

And for children, it can be even more difficult for them to process. Dr. Peters said that’s why it’s important for parents to talk to their children about the tragedy in Texas.

“For younger kids, you may want to keep it simple, you want to be able to just ask, you know, make sure that they're aware, and then ask how they're feeling," Dr. Peters said. "And then ask what they understand. And then, maybe helping them work through some of the misconceptions that they might have about the situation."

Parents reaction to tragic Texas shooting

"For those that are maybe in more of that tween age if you will, kind of late elementary school, middle school, obviously, I think our job as parents is to help them to decipher what's out there and help to understand what's safe and help point them toward safe websites and media and other sorts of things that really do give them a balanced answer."

Dr. Peters offers advice to parents on talking to children about tragedy

Dr Peters said it’s also extremely important for people to be aware of behavioral changes among loved ones.

“But if you see somebody that you know normally is functioning in one way that starts demonstrating a lot of concerning signs, whether it be just you know, being more on edge or being more down just not their normal self, not being able to really do the things that they normally do, ask, help them get connected with help if they don't know where to turn,” Dr. Peters said.