SAN DIEGO — Following multiple deadly shootings across the U.S. this week, it’s important to consider the psychological impact these repeated attacks can have on ourselves and our children. News 8 spoke to a local psychiatrist about how to cope with these events.
While it’s common to feel overwhelmed or anxious, experts say communication is important at a time like this. Talk to one other about these tragedies and your feelings. If you have kids, talk to your kids.
“Our rates are extraordinarily higher - we have 4% of the population 45% of all the mass killings,” said Dr. Michael Lardon.
As devastating images from the mass shootings that occurred within 24 hours in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, flood our TV screens and social media feeds, Dr. Lardon wants to remind people that while it’s important to stay informed you can reach a point of watching too much.
"What it does is it creates a repetitive post-traumatic stress disorder,” said Dr. Lardon. “For example, after 9/11 people would watch the reruns of planes flying into the twin towers - we know this did additional psychological damage.”
He says talking to your kids is crucial.
"It’s hard for a young child to understand and grasp why people would do this, what is going on and how much fear should they realistically be in,” said Lardon.
However, he says, talking to teenagers is different.
"With a 13-year-old, they’re going to be much more dialed in,” he said. “One of the best things to do is ask them what they’ve heard, what’s their understanding. If their understanding is somehow exaggerated or somehow catastrophized, then that should be addressed.”
Dr Lardon also said there is a need for more access to mental health services and if you notice someone is struggling, don't be afraid to reach out.
If you or someone you know is struggling, seek out professional help if necessary. Click here for some resources that can help.