Special Edition Newsletter

Balanced Living is brought to you by Insight EAP

Franklin Regional Senior High School Tragedy

On April 9th, a student at Franklin Regional Senior High School in Murrysville, Pennsylvania stabbed 19 students and one adult (according to local news affiliate WPXI Pittsburgh) on campus as the school day began. This story is still developing as the nation waits and watches to hear about the injured parties.

We hope the resources here might help those affected by this violent act. Children, even teenagers, affected by violent acts need special consideration and assistance. Please find a series of additional resources below the article for guidance.

Understanding Child Traumatic Stress

family grieving together

What is Child Traumatic Stress?

Child traumatic stress is when children and adolescents are exposed to traumatic events or traumatic situations, and when this exposure overwhelms their ability to cope.

When children have been exposed to situations where they feared for their lives, believed they could have been injured, witnessed violence, or tragically lost a loved one, they may show signs of traumatic stress. The impact on any given child depends partly on the objective danger, partly on his or her subjective reaction to the events, and partly on his or her age and developmental level.

If your child is experiencing traumatic stress you might notice the following signs:

  • Difficulty sleeping and nightmares
  • Refusing to go to school
  • Lack of appetite
  • Bed-wetting or other regression in behavior
  • Interference with developmental milestones
  • Anger
  • Getting into fights at school or fighting more with siblings
  • Difficulty paying attention to teachers at school and to parents at home
  • Avoidance of scary situations
  • Withdrawal from friends or activities
  • Nervousness or jumpiness
  • Intrusive memories of what happened
  • Play that includes recreating the event

What is the best way to treat child traumatic stress?

There are effective ways to treat child traumatic stress. Many treatments include cognitive behavioral principles:

  • Education about the impact of trauma
  • Helping children and their parents establish or re-establish a sense of safety
  • Techniques for dealing with overwhelming emotional reactions
  • An opportunity to talk about the traumatic experience in a safe, accepting environment
  • Involvement, when possible, of primary caregivers in the healing process

For more information see the NCTSN website: www.nctsn.org.

NCTSN ©2014

Additional Resources

National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Learning Center for Child and Adolescent Trauma

NIH: Children and Violence Resources

Return to Insight EAP Newsletter Page