When news as tragic as a mass shooting comes to us, it is easy to keep consuming and consuming, or even to post about it online to spark a social media conversation (that often turns into an argument).
Neither of those are healthy ways to cope, says psychologist Dr. Max Wachtel.
On 9NEWS at 4, Dr. Wachtel offered some ways to keep yourself healthy while dealing with tragedy, or while talking to your kids about what happened in Las Vegas over the weekend.
"Everyone is hoping the shooter fits some sort of profile that they can use to shove down the throats of everyone they know on social media and it's just so incredibly unhealthy," Dr. Wachtel said.
Adults aside, it's important to be honest with your kids about what happened, too.
The amount of information you share will depend on the age of your children. But, Dr. Wachtel says, even kids who are pretty young will hear about it at school -- whether you want them to or not.
Be honest, gear feedback to your kids' age, and don't give too much information. Dr. Wachtel says they need to hear something from you. And they need to hear that you will do everything you can to keep them safe.
It's important to remind our kids how rare these instances are, too.
Don't be afraid to take a break, either.
Turn off the television. Set down your phone. Consuming too much bad news will make you feel stressed and emotional.
Then, getting into arguments with people while you are angry and stressed becomes even less helpful, Dr. Wachtel says.
Do something joyful tonight. Talk with your family, have a family dinner or watch a family movie. Read a book to your kids. Walk your dogs. Take care of your self.
Don't pretend bad things never happen, but it's okay to take a break from it, Wachtel says.
Here are resources If you are in need of additional help:
- Colorado Crisis Services: Chat online here, call 1-844-493-8255 or text TALK to 38255.
- Disaster Distress Hotline: From the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 for 24/7 help. For Spanish, text Hablanos to 66746.
- Fact sheets to know if you could be dealing with Post Traumatic Stress.
- Request an outpatient appointment with UCHealth Psychiatric Services at 303-724-1000.
- Call 911 if you or someone else is in immediate danger