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Mental Health

Resources for Responding to Trauma and Tragedy

Guidance for supporting students who have experienced trauma or grief and for coping with violence and disasters.

January 5, 2016 Updated November 13, 2017
A student sits alone in a stairwell.

Understanding Trauma’s Effects on Learning

  • Childhood Trauma and Positive Health: Learn about adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and how they can impact a child’s developing brain and are linked to high-risk behaviors, chronic diseases, and negative health outcomes in adulthood. (The Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative, 2017)
  • How Trauma Is Changing Children’s Brains: Explore the latest research on the effects trauma has on young people’s brains, and learn strategies you can use to make your classroom feel safer. (NEA Today, 2016)
  • Responding to Trauma in Your Classroom: Examine the signs and causes of student trauma, and explore strategies for responding to and supporting students who are experiencing trauma. (Teaching Tolerance, 2016)
  • How Teachers Help Students Who’ve Survived Trauma: Read about how experiences with trauma impact student learning, and review several expert suggestions on ways that educators and schools can help. (The Atlantic, 2014)
  • Helping Kids Recover From Trauma: Discover how resilience can be fostered by supportive factors in schools, and read takeaways from research. (Edutopia, 2009)

Helping Students Who Have Experienced Trauma

School-Wide Approaches to Addressing Trauma

Strategies for Coping With Violence and Disaster

  • Helping Students Cope in a Violent World: Explore 10 useful and practical strategies for discussing violence in the classroom, fostering student coping skills, and helping students make sense of violence. (Edutopia, 2016)
  • Tips for Resilience in the Face of Horror: Learn how educators and parents can help protect children and themselves from the effects of vicarious trauma. The linked article “Resources for Helping Children Cope with Trauma” is also worth reading. (Greater Good, 2013)
  • Talking to Your Children About Tragedy: Watch a video that describes relevant principles parents can consider in relation to young children and personal or family reactions to traumatic events. Though the introduction to the video is focused on Boston, the principles discussed can be applied to a wide variety of situations. (Bright Horizons, 2013)

Mr Rogers Talks About Tragic Events: Watch an episode featuring Fred Rogers speaking about how to cope with violence in the world—his advice is still relevant today. (The Fred Rogers Company, 2018)

Supporting Grieving Students

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  • Social & Emotional Learning (SEL)

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