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Resources for helping kids process the tragedy of the Super Bowl parade shootings

Outside of Union Station in Kansas City

For all of us, the horrific events that took place after the Chiefs parade and rally at Union Station hit too close to home. We know many families were directly impacted by these events, especially children who were at the parade and witnessed terrifying things.  

It’s never easy to talk about senseless violence with our kids. With your guidance, though, they can find a safe space to process what’s happened. To assist you in these tough conversations, we’ve outlined key ways you can help them, things to look for in your child and additional resources for support. 

Watch for changes in your child 

The events that transpired at the Super Bowl parade are stressful, especially if your children witnessed them firsthand or on television. If your child’s reactions to trauma persist for 2 to 4 weeks after the event, worsen or affect their usual routines, consider talking to a health care professional.  

Signs of post-traumatic stress disorder include: 

  • Avoiding people, places or things that bring back memories.  
  • Panic symptoms (racing heart, rapid breathing) when not in danger.  
  • Feelings of shame, sadness or anger.  
  • Nightmares or memories of the scary event when they are trying not to think about it.  

If you or your child: 

  • Have thoughts of suicide (ending your own life) 
  • Have thoughts of hurting yourself or others 
  • Have thoughts of dying 

Go to the Emergency Room or call the confidential National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Dial 9-8-8 or Text HELLO to 9-8-8 anytime. 

Help your child process the events 

As their caregiver, you know your child best. But here are some tips to help you support your child as they process this traumatic event: 

  • Ask questions before giving answers. Kids will have initial reactions, just as we do. The more listening you do, the better. 
  • Let your child know they are safe. Let them know you are there for them, and safety officials are working to keep them safe and secure. If appropriate, create a safety plan as a family.  
  • Consider what they need. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Consider your child’s age, temperament, any intellectual or developmental disabilities and proximity to the event.  

Learn more about caring for children who have experienced trauma. 

Resources for discussions 

If you need additional support, here are some ideas to guide you: 

Read a story to process what happened. This can help children process scary events in an accessible way.  

Look at local options that can help your child. Sometimes, the best resources are the ones closest to you. 

  • Your child’s pediatrician or current mental health professional, if they have one.  
  • Find mental health resources for you or your family by calling the 24-hour COMM CARE Mental Health Crisis Line: (888) 279-8188.   
  • A mental health professional (if you have health insurance, call your insurance company for a list of resources in your area).  
  • Your local community mental health center.   
  • A school counselor or social worker.  

Source online resources. Here are several additional resources for your family: