Expert discusses talking with your kids during times of grief and trauma

Talking mental health

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - With the recent news of a 14-year-old Elkmont boy admitting to killing his family of five, many teenagers in Limestone County and the Tennessee Valley are talking with professionals about the grieving process and how to deal with traumatic incidents like these.

WAFF talked with a professional who specializes in trauma and grief and discussed what can lead someone down a dark and violent path.

Alissa Lapidus owns Empower Behavioral Health and has worked directly with schools and helps with grief counseling, but what she’s seen in the headlines across the US and locally has shocked her.

“I think it’s unprecedented the amount of shootings we’re seeing, but you know we take kids and we get their hearing tested, we get their eyesight tested, and really there’s not an intervention with mental health until there’s a crisis...or until we feel like there’s something really wrong.” says Lapidus .

Lapidus says studies show mental illness starts to rear its ugly head in the teen years, but she says there are so many factors that can cause a teen or young adult to snap, including:

  • The teen’s social life begins to plummet.
  • The teen doesn’t feel like they have friends or a group that they belong to.
  • They feel disconnected.

So, what can parents, teachers and counselors do in this situation? Lapidus says it’s important for them to stop what they’re doing, pay attention, and listen.

Lapidus also notes that if your child knows anyone who’s been a victim or perpetrator of a violent crime, you should allow them to express how scary the situation is. She says you should allow your kids to see your emotion as well.

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