Coping With Grief After Community Violence
It is not uncommon for individuals and communities as a whole to experience grief reactions and anger after an incident of community violence. Grief is the normal response of sorrow, emotion, and confusion that comes from losing someone or something important to you. In situations of community violence, we may experience the loss of our sense of safety, our trust in those who live in our neighborhood, or our trust in local government. The trauma and grief of community violence can be experienced by everyone.
When coping with grief:
- Talking to others who understand and respect how you feel–family members, faith leaders, people you trust–is a helpful way to ease your grief.
- Recognize that although you might still have these feelings over a long period, they will likely be less and less intense over time.
- Be sure to exercise and eat healthy meals.
- Do the things that you used to enjoy doing, even if you don’t always feel like it. This will help you get back into your routines. Allow yourself to feel joy at times and to cry when you need to.
Tips for helping children cope with grief:
- Allow children to talk about their feelings and to express their grief (e.g., crying, being sad).
- Try to follow the same routines as usual.
- Encourage them to play and laugh.
- Limit exposure to violence on TV news.
- Encourage them to get adequate rest and to eat healthy meals.
If you or someone you know is struggling after a disaster, you are not alone.
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If sadness persists, on your part or that of your child’s, seek professional consultation.