American Psychological Association Resources for Coping with Mass Shootings, Understanding Gun Violence

News reports about the shootings in communities around the world can cause stress and anxiety for people, leaving them with questions about the causes of and solutions to gun violence.

APA offers resources to help those who are suffering distress:

  • Empowering communities to prevent mass shootings. Psychology research is informing new strategies to reach people at risk of committing a violent act.
  • Managing your distress in the aftermath of a shooting. Tips for managing feelings of distress in the aftermath of a shooting.
  • How to talk to children about difficult news. Tips for parents and other caregivers on how to guide the conversation in a proactive and supportive way.Talking to kids when they need help.
  • How to open the lines of communication and build trust.Helping your children manage distress in the aftermath of a shooting. Tips for children of all ages.

Learn more about gun violence and prevention:

  • Gun Violence: Prediction, Prevention, and Policy. Written by a task force composed of psychologists and other researchers, the report synthesizes the available science on the complex underpinnings of gun violence, from gender and culture to gun policies and prevention strategies. Issued by APA in December 2013.
  • Gun violence prevention. Research shows gun violence affects society in many ways, including higher medical costs, reductions in quality of life because of fear of gun violence, and stresses on the criminal justice system.

For those who feel too overwhelmed to use the tips provided, APA suggests consulting a psychologist or other mental health professional. Visit APA’s Psychologist Locator or reach out to your state psychological association for resources in your area.

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