You are here

The tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut

How is media covering the Newtown tragedy and is it good for our mental health?

The tragic shooting death of young children in Newtown Connecticut,  has left many of us reeling, wondering how the community has been coping over the last few days.   Our hearts go out to them. 

And although we can’t fully imagine how this tragedy has impacted this community, a number of staff here at mindyourmind have made a decision to not consume all the coverage that has dominated television, digital and print media over the last few days.  Is it good for our mental health to be watching endless coverage, when we know that over consumption can cause traumatic effects? 

Our local public school board, Thames Valley District School Board, circulated some helpful advice to parents on Friday that we wanted to share with you.

. Try to reduce your exposure to violence and traumatic events in the media.

. Remind yourself that most people do not hurt others. Only a few people whose minds are not well do hurtful things.

. It's okay to express your sadness and shock that bad things do sometimes happen.

. Avoid repeated listening or watching traumatic events as is it can traumatize those who have not directly experienced the events.

. Do nurturing things with supportive people like watching a feel good movie or going for a nature walk or listening to your favourite music together. 

The point is, many of you will be wondering why this happened.  The answer is not likely to be found by consuming massive amounts of media.  And for those who are unfamiliar with the complex nature of mental illness or grief, the media will have difficulty unpacking those issues for you.  Turn off the television and ignore the tweets for now.    

Take good care.