Trauma can occur to children and youth as a result of violence, abuse, neglect, loss, and other emotionally harmful experiences. Traumatic and toxic stressors such as physical abuse, exposure to domestic or community violence, and inappropriate parental behavior due to mental and/or substance use tend to cluster in families.
Community violence, such as school shootings or volatile communities may cause trauma. The more traumatic experiences a child is exposed to, the more likely the child will have difficulty with social and emotional functioning in childhood, exhibit cognitive problems, and perform poorly in school, and experience mental and/or substance use disorders as an adult.
While many people who experience trauma continue their lives without lasting negative effects, others experience impaired neurodevelopmental and immune system responses. There may be subsequent health risk behaviors resulting in chronic physical and behavioral disorders.
The following resources may be useful for parents, service providers or educators who are working with children or youth who are experiencing or have experienced trauma:
1. Measuring Violence-Related Attitudes, Behaviors, and Influences among Youths: A Compendium of Assessment Tools- This compendium provides researchers and prevention specialists with a set of tools to assess violence-related beliefs, behaviors, and influences, as well as to evaluate programs to prevent youth violence. This resource was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
2. STRYVE- This set of interactive resources was designed to help you customize your youth violence prevention work and track your efforts. While these resources were developed with public health practitioners in mind, any group working to prevent youth violence can use them. Videos of other communities working to prevent youth violence are included to provide real-life context for many of the main points presented throughout. This resource was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
3. Assessing Whether a Student Might Commit a Violent Act- This is a resource for assessing student violence. This resource was developed by UCLA School Mental Health Program.
4. Coping with Grief after Community Violence- This fact sheet discusses tips on how to cope with grief after an incident of community violence. It introduces common signs of grief and anger, and offers tips for helping children deal with grief. This resource was developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
5. Child Trauma Toolkit -This toolkit was developed for school administrators, teachers, staff, and parents to provide basic information about working with traumatized children in schools. This resource was developed by National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
6. Suggestions for Educators- This is a two page list of practical suggestions for educators to help traumatized children at school. This resource was developed by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN).
7. Tips for Helping Students Recovering from Traumatic Events- This brochure contains practical information from more than three dozen experts who work with children in schools that offers advice on how to help students recover from traumatic events. The brochure provides tips for students, parents, school staff, and others. This resource was developed by the U.S. Department of Education.
8. Dealing with the Effects of Trauma: A Self-Help Guide provides in-depth information on recovering from a traumatic event; it is geared for those whose reactions may be lingering. This resource was developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
9. Psychosocial Issues for Children and Adolescents in Disasters provides resources for people working with children after a disaster. It covers child development theories in relation to how youth respond emotionally to disasters. It also features suggestions, case studies, and a resource guide. This resource was developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
10. Tips for Talking With and Helping Children and Youth Cope after a Disaster or Traumatic Event: A Guide for Parents, Caregivers, and Teachers helps parents, caregivers, and teachers to recognize and address stress responses in children and youth affected by traumatic events. It describes stress reactions that are commonly seen in young trauma survivors and offers tips on how to help. This resource was developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
11. It’s Okay to Remember (Video | 34:35) This video provides information regarding traumatic grief in children, addresses the three main types of trauma reminders, and illustrates how families can experience the pain of loss and then heal. It is appropriate for parents and others who care for children. This resource was developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
12. Parent Tips for School-age Children - This document is designed to help parents with school-age children help them cope with a natural disaster. This resource was developed by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN).
13. Parent Tips for Helping Adolescents after Disasters -This document is designed to help parents help adolescents cope with natural disasters. Tips include possible reactions, responses, and examples of things to do and say. This resource was developed by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN).
14. Understanding Child Traumatic Stress -This document discusses the cognitive response to danger as it relates to traumatic experiences or traumatic stress throughout all developmental stages, particularly in children. It provides an overview of post-traumatic stress responses and their severity and duration, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following chronic or repeated trauma. This resource was developed by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN).
15. Responding to Stressful Events: Helping Children Cope from the Public Health Agency of Canada- This packet contains information on helping children cope after a stressful event. It provides information on common reactions and coping techniques. This resource was developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
16. Safe Place: Trauma-Sensitive Practice for Health Centers Serving Students Implementation Guide. The Safe Place resource kit encompasses a broad range of materials introducing and supporting trauma-sensitive practice with an emphasis on sexual assault trauma. Designed specifically for health centers serving as primary care providers to students in higher education, the kit endeavors to support health center staff at all levels. This resource was developed by the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments (NCSSLE).
17. United States Secret Service — National Threat Assessment Center, Safe School Initiative- In 2002, the Secret Service completed the Safe School Initiative (SSI), a study of school shootings and other school-based attacks. Conducted in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education, the study examined school shootings in the United States as far back as 1974, through the end of the 2000 school year, analyzing a total of 37 incidents involving 41 student attackers. The study involved extensive review of police records, school records, court documents and other source materials, and included interviews with 10 school shooters. The focus of the study was on developing information about the school shooters’ pre-attack behaviors and communications. The goal was to identify information about school shootings that may be identifiable or noticeable before such shootings occur, to help inform efforts to prevent school-based attacks. This resource was developed by the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Department of Education.
18. Tip sheet on the American Psychological Association Website- This tip sheet offers tips for parents to help children manage distress after school shootings. This resource was developed by the American Psychological Association (APA).