⚫ Some NJ youngsters becoming nervous about recent school shootings
⚫ They may have trouble sleeping, eating or concentrating
⚫ Parents are encouraged to talk to their kids to see what’s going on

At the beginning of this week, three children and three adults were killed at a school in Nashville Tennessee by a 28-year-old former student with an emotional disorder.

According to Dr. Joe Galasso, a psychologist with Baker Street Behavioral Health, kids tend to be resilient but they are aware of the threat of violence in school because they take part in active shooter drills, they see how these tragic events impact their teachers and other adults and the result is a certain degree of stress and anxiety.

Since the start of the year, there have been 13 school shootings in the U.S. While none have been in New Jersey, that doesn’t mean students here have not been affected by the seemingly non-stop wave of terror and death.

Kids are aware of what's going on

“Every child is impacted by it. They do see the concern on their parents' faces. That does carry over for longer periods of time,” he said

He said anxiety in children can present in a number of ways including problems with sleeping, eating or playing.

SDannaS, Getty Stock / ThinkStock

Don’t sweep it under the rug

He said if parents notice their son or daughter seems anxious, they should sit down and discuss what’s going on.

“The more that you don’t address it, it actually grows, and for children in particular, that worry becomes bigger.”

Galasso said you can share feelings about the school shooting tragedies with your kids while reassuring them everything possible is being done to keep them safe. If the problem lingers, don’t hesitate to reach out for help and address it with their teacher or physician.

“The nice thing about anxiety is it is treatable," he said. “Of all the things that happen in our world as mental health providers, anxiety can go away.”

He added the best thing to do is to get ahead of the problem before it becomes more difficult and causes more issues.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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