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U.S. Rep. Murphy, a Former Psychologist, Responds to Connecticut School Tragedy

Murphy shares 10 suggestions to help adults reassure and comfort children during this difficult and confusing time.

U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Upper St. Clair) released the following statement on the violent shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.  

"(Friday's) senseless tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School leaves us all shocked. We don’t have words to explain our grief, and we cannot begin to understand what would cause an individual to inflict this kind of pain on fellow human beings, let alone defenseless children. To the grieving families, our deepest condolences go out to you all. For the many teachers, first responders, police officers and emergency personnel who were focused on returning the students to safety, we thank you for putting yourself in harm's way to save a child's life. We hold you all close in our prayers.” Prior to holding elected office, Murphy had a career in the mental health field—specializing in child psychology. Murphy says that hearing about an event as traumatic and horrific as the Connecticut elementary school shooting may affect children and parents far away from where the event occurred because it makes us all feel a little less safe.  

"Don’t ignore it," said Murphy. "It’s better to discuss it with children and for parents to discuss with each other. Over the coming days, many parents and children will be affected by the horrific level of the events. While some may be far away geographically, tragic events can hit very close to home emotionally. If your children are exhibiting signs of distress, please don’t ignore it.” Murphy shared 10 suggestions to help adults reassure and comfort children during this difficult and confusing time:

  1. Ask your child what he/she heard about the incident.
  2. Listen to their concerns and emotions.
  3. Answer their questions with age appropriate information.
  4. Support, comfort and reassure them of their safety at home and school.
  5. Observe/watch for symptoms of problems: appetite, sleep, worries, aggression, anger, sadness.
  6. Protect them from other media exposure and information that creates more fear and problems.
  7. Call for other professional help for your child if needed.
  8. Review with school personnel how they are handling security and counseling students at school
  9. Pay attention to and take care of your own concerns and worries as a parent.
  10. Keep watch over time as concerns and symptoms may come later.

Later next week, Murphy will be participating in an in-depth discussion on this tragedy on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal on Wednesday morning along with his Mental Health Caucus co-chair U.S. Rep. Grace Napolitano. Since 2003, the Congressional Mental Health Caucus has worked in a bipartisan manner to inform, educate, and advocate to members of Congress and the public on a variety of mental health issues. 

Follow the latest updates on the tragedy on our sister Patch in Newtown.

Share your thoughts on the tragedy in the comments below.

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