Dealing with a difficult tragedy; local mental health expert wei - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Dealing with a difficult tragedy; local mental health expert weighs in

KENTUCKY (WFIE) -

It's not going to be easy to talk about the tragedy that occurred at Marshall County High School on Tuesday morning.

One Tri-State mental health expert tells us it's good for students to put their thoughts and feelings into words.

School was called off Wednesday, following a shooting at Marshall County High School.

“You want to reassure them they are okay, they're safe,” Licensed professional clinical counselor Janet Messer said.

As students begin the healing process, mental health specialists say learning and practicing a safety procedure both at school and home is important.

“If you see something, or hear something, say something to somebody,“ Messer added.

But some situations, no one could see coming. And now more than a thousand students are having to learn how to cope. Experts say how you try to help varies by the student's age.

Marshall County High School includes grades 9 through 12.

“They can pretty well talk about what they're thinking for feeling – and you need to let them talk about what they experienced; what they're thinking and how they're feeling,” Messer explained.

But Messer added, limit exposure to adult conversations.

“May or may not be ready to talk about how other people feel about how what happened," Messer described.

She also encouraged students to channel their energy.

“Drawing, listening to music, playing activities, reading a book.” Messer described.

And another recommendation: try to keep schedules the same as they were before the senseless shooting.

“Your normal bedtime routine, your normal time for meals, continuing to participate in activities,” Messer listed.

Marshall County elementary and middle schoolers will return to class tomorrow.  School officials said parents can attend school with their children.

No word right now on when the approximately 1,200 Marshall County High School students will return to the classroom.

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