MMSD provides mental health resources, support for families after Texas shooting
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Schools in Madison are trying to give students and their families as much support as possible following the mass shooting at a Texas elementary school.
Students across the Madison area made their way to school Wednesday morning as a flood of information filled social media throughout the day, offering updates on the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
Madison Metropolitan School District Executive Director of Student and Staff Supports, Leia Esser, said there are resources across the district to help take care of students’ mental health, but she said it’s just as important for parents.
“This is as scary or scarier for folks who send their kids to school every day,” Esser said.
Esser said there are resources in the form of social workers or counselors in every Madison Metropolitan School District school across the district.
“But ultimately, we have to address issues at their face value. Our kids have access to a lot of information and it’s our obligation to engage in dialogue and engage them in supportive opportunities,” Esser said.
She also said there are materials on the district’s website with suggestions for parents and staff on how to mange mental health following a tragic event.
“We want to keep routines and structures as normal as possible. Kids need predictability, they need routine, they need to be in school with their peers,” Esser said.
She added that the amount of exposure on social media means the best thing to do is to encourage intentional conversations about mental health.
When it comes to talking about these tragedies, Dr. Jenny Walczak with Children’s Wisconsin said it’s important to first hear what a child already knows and keep things simple.
“We’re not going to want to give them more information than they need because that can be upsetting and scary in and of itself. So you want to be honest with your kiddo, but also keep it simple in terms of that information that you’re providing,” Dr. Walczak said.
Dr. Walczak also said that it’s important to validate children’s feelings if they are scared and not to push them to do anything they aren’t comfortable doing.
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