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A psychologist gives advice on how Connecticut should respond to the Texas school shooting

A man brings flowers to Robb Elementary School on Wednesday in Uvalde, Texas.
Jordan Vonderhaar
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Getty Images
A man brings flowers to Robb Elementary School on Wednesday in Uvalde, Texas.

Communities in Connecticut are at risk of mental health stress after the shooting in Uvalde, Texas, according to mental health professionals. Many experienced trauma from the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Laura Saunders is a psychologist at the Institute of Living in Hartford. She said anyone who’s experienced violent trauma or loss could be affected by the Texas shooting.

“We here in Connecticut have experienced an unimaginable tragedy in Sandy Hook," she said. "Those individuals in that community, and in the surrounding communities, and in fact in the state, have felt the pain and suffering in the senseless gun violence and loss of children’s lives.”

She said it’s especially tough to talk about it with children.

“Start with some open-ended questions, like what do you know? Is there anything you’re worried about?" Saunders said. "We have to be very careful as adults not to take our anxiety and our fears and project it onto our children.”

It’s been almost ten years since the shooting in Newtown, but Saunders said everyone processes grief and trauma differently.

“So we really need to look to how we can work together as a community," Saunders said. "Be kind to our neighbors, do things that we have control over, instead of focusing on things that we have no control over.”

Lorrie Rodrigue, the Newtown Schools Superintendent, said counseling teams will offer assistance to students at each of the district’s seven schools, including Newtown High School where survivors of the 2012 attack now attend classes.

Copyright 2022 WSHU. To see more, visit WSHU.

Davis Dunavin loves telling stories, whether on the radio or around the campfire. He fell in love with sound-rich radio storytelling while working as an assistant reporter at KBIA public radio in Columbia, Missouri. Before coming back to radio, he worked in digital journalism as the editor of Newtown Patch. As a freelance reporter, his work for WSHU aired nationally on NPR. Davis is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism; he started in Missouri and ended up in Connecticut, which, he'd like to point out, is the same geographic trajectory taken by Mark Twain.

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