Let me begin by saying I do not want to dwell on the event that prompted this column. Nor will I make any statements about politics or policy, laws or rights. Rather, I want to focus on what’s known as vicarious trauma — how people, in this case children, can be traumatized by events which may not have happened to them personally but which might still cause them to feel fear, anxiety, depression and distress.

The school shooting in Uvalde, Texas is such an event, and it may be traumatizing to children all over the U.S., including here in Georgia, more than 1,000 miles away. Parents and caregivers need to be aware of the signs that a child has been traumatized — directly or indirectly — because there are actually many things they can do to help children cope and heal.

Melanie Dallas is a licensed professional counselor and CEO of Highland Rivers Health, which provides treatment and recovery services for individuals with mental illness, substance use disorders, and intellectual and developmental disabilities in the 12-county region of Northwest Georgia.

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