Resources for Coping with School Tragedies


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Schools have witnessed many events over the past two years, from a pivot to virtual learning during COVID-19 and protests for racial justice, to student suicides and gun violence, including the shootings that took place at a supermarket in Buffalo, NY, at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX, and at Michigan State University. This resource page outlines resources on addressing crises that occur in school communities and how to move forward in the aftermath of these crises.

MHTTC Resources 

After a School Tragedy...Readiness, Response, Recovery, & Resources | MHTTC Network

This resource, developed by a workgroup across the MHTTC Network, is designed to help schools better support students and families in the aftermath of violence and trauma. It provides strategies to assist schools with readiness, response, and recovery to help a school community support resilience in the event of a tragedy. It offers places to turn for more resources and discusses terminology and concepts related to suicide and grief.


Bullying and Its Impact on Mental Health | Mountain Plains MHTTC

This webinar describes the forms of bullying (physical, verbal, relational, and cyber) and the factors that contribute to it. Participants learn about the short- and long-term impact of bullying on the mental health of perpetrators, targets, and bystanders. The webinar also identifies protective factors that can prevent bullying and buffer youths from its adverse impact.  


Expect the Unexpected: Preparing for Crises in Schools | Mid-America MHTTC

This webinar series is geared toward education professionals, administrators, and stakeholders who are working together to create a school climate that aims to prevent crisis events. Every Monday in June 2021, trainers delved into an area of crisis response, including creating comprehensive crisis plans, suicide prevention and intervention, and reintegration strategies.


How to Talk to Students about Trauma and Violence - Panel Presentation; HHS Region 8 | Mountain Plains MHTTC

In many schools, staff do not know how to respond to questions from their students about the uncertainty and violence they see, hear about, or experience; and they often struggle with their own emotions when these questions arise. This panel presentation addressed the impact of trauma on students as a mental and behavioral health concern and highlighted regional and national experts who address this topic daily.


Implementing Social Emotional Learning (SEL) During a Crisis | Southeast MHTTC

Many schools are noticing a need for SEL supports this school year, as students across the country are coping with variety of natural disasters, community stressors and disruptions to routine at school, home and in the community. In this learning session, we detail the steps of assessing student SEL needs, identifying SEL Kernels to meet those needs, and implementing SEL Kernels.


Promoting School Preparedness, Community Resilience, and Recovery in the Face of Adversity | Southeast MHTTC

This four-part series focuses on the role of schools and school mental health providers throughout crisis planning and response and will offer a framework for planning that is part of a larger trauma-informed and healing-centered approach to education and school mental health. Presenters highlight crisis planning efforts and examples across the Southeast region and nationally to promote collaborative learning.


Supporting Students and Staff in the Aftermath of Crisis and Loss | Pacific Southwest MHTTC and MHTTC Network Coordinating Office

Major events have the potential to cause short- and long-term effects on the psychological functioning, academic achievement, emotional adjustment, health, and developmental trajectory of students. This workshop helps school professionals learn basic skills in how to talk with and support individual students or the entire class/school as they struggle to understand and cope with a crisis or loss in their lives.

School Crisis Recovery and Renewal (SCRR) Project

Launched in June 2020 and funded by SAMHSA, the School Crisis Recovery & Renewal (SCRR) project is a National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) Treatment and Services Adaptation Center (Category II, 2020-2025). SCRR's objective is to support students, educators, school staff, and school-based clinicians to effectively implement trauma-informed crisis recovery and renewal strategies.

Resources from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Age-Related Reactions to a Traumatic Event

This resource describes how young children, school-age children, and adolescents react to traumatic events and offers suggestions on how parents and caregivers can help and support them.


After a Crisis: Helping Young Children Heal

This resource offers tips to parents on how to help young children, toddlers, and preschoolers heal after a traumatic event.


For Adults: Coping After Mass Violence

This fact sheet provides common reactions children and families may be experiencing after a mass violence event, as well as what adults can do to take care of themselves.


For Teens: Coping After Mass Violence

This resource offers information for teens about common reactions to mass violence, as well as tips for taking care of themselves and connecting with others. (En Español)


Helping School-Age Children with Traumatic Grief: Tips for Caregivers

This resource describes how school-age children may feel when struggling with the death of someone close and offers tips on what caregivers can do to help. (En Español)


Helping Teens with Traumatic Grief: Tips for Caregivers

This resource describes how teens may feel when struggling with the death of someone close and offers tips on what caregivers can do to help. (En Español)


Helping Young Children with Traumatic Grief: Tips for Caregivers

This resource outlines the feelings of young children struggling with the death of someone meaningful and offers suggestions on what caregivers can do to help. (En Español)


Helping Youth After Community Trauma: Tips for Educators

This tip sheet lists common reactions educators might see in the students with whom they work and suggestions on how they may help after community trauma. It also describes how traumatic events, such as a natural disaster, school violence, or the traumatic death of a peer or educator, can affect students’ learning, behavior, and relationships. (En Español)


Psychological First Aid: Parent Tips


Psychological First Aid: Tips for Adults

This handout provides people with common reactions after a disaster, ways to respond to those reactions, and examples of things you can say to another adult.


Talking to Children About the Shooting

This tip sheet describes ways to talk to children about mass violence events that involve a shooting. It gives tips about how to start the conversation, common reactions children may have, and how to seek help if needed.


Talking to Teens When Violence Happens

This fact sheet includes information on checking in with yourself, clarifying your goal, providing information and options, reflection, asking helpful questions, going slow, labeling emotions, validating, and monitoring media and social media exposure.

Additional Resources