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The Sandy Hook Elementary School Tragedy; NAMI Statement Includes Trauma Resources

ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 14, 2012 -- The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has issued the following statement which includes recommended links to trauma resources for families:

"Like other Americans, NAMI is horrified and saddened by today's tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. As of Friday at 5:00 p.m. (Eastern), news reports indicated that close to 30 people were shot and killed, most of them children. We extend our sympathy to their families and to all who knew and loved them.

It is extremely important that the Newtown, Conn. community be prepared to provide trauma services and resources to all those affected by the tragedy. Our national community must do so as well. The tragedy will inevitably leave an impression on many children. Parents and caregivers throughout the country will need to reassure them.

American Psychiatric Association recommendations include:

  • Create an open and supportive environment where children know they can ask questions.
  • Give honest answers and information. Use words and concepts they can understand.
  • Help children to find ways to express themselves and to know that people are there to help. Remember also that children learn by watching parents and teachers react and listening to their conversations.
  • Don't let children watch too much television with frightening repetitious images.
  • Monitor for physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach aches or other pains.

Additional resources are also available from the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress (CSTS), the University of Maryland Center for School Mental Health (CSMH) and the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

NAMI will follow news reports closely as more details become known. At this time, there is no indication that mental illness was a factor in the tragedy. It is important to not make assumptions or speculate in such cases. The overall contribution of mental disorders to the total level of violence in society is exceptionally small.

When tragedies occur, no matter what their nature or cause, national, state and local communities must come together to find out what went wrong and to take steps to ensure it does not happen again. We expect such scrutiny to occur in days and weeks ahead. Today, however, is a time to mourn and pray for the victims of a senseless act and for their survivors. As a nation, we must reassure each other."


About NAMI

NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI advocates for access to services, treatment, supports and research and is steadfast in its commitment to raising awareness and building a community of hope.


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