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COPING WITH COMMUNITY TRAUMA

On Friday March 15, 2019 many of us woke up to the incredibly devastating news of the mass shootings at Masjid Al-Noor and Linwood Avenue mosques in ChristChurch New Zealand. This tragedy occurred during Jumuah prayer. We acknowledge the depth and severity of this painful moment as the community of Muslims around the world grieves over this shocking tragedy. In the wake of these calamitous events, many are feeling a range and mix of overwhelming emotions - from anger, confusion and numbness - to grief, sadness, and utter devastation. It is important that we create a space in which we can begin to process the emotional impact of what has occurred and how to cope effectively moving forward.  Muslim Wellness Foundation is committed to offering information and resources for those who are seeking support at this most difficult time.

We pray that this toolkit of resources is of benefit to the community and helps facilitate further conversations on faith, wellness and collective healing. 

We encourage everyone to make dua/prayer for the loved ones and community members directly affected. May Allah (swt) shower his mercy on the Believers and ease the suffering of hurting hearts and minds. May Allah give us the strength and patience to remain steadfast in the face of this violence. May Allah make it easy. Ameen.

RESOURCES FOR CHILDREN & YOUTH

After A Tragic Event Toolkit - The Family & Youth Institute

It can be overwhelming to think about how to discuss a tragic event with your children. 

“Mama, do people hate us?”, “Why did this happen?”, “Were they bad people?”  These heartbreaking questions are overwhelming for so many of us. Many of you are wondering what to do and how to make healthy decisions for your family in these difficult times. Maybe your family is directly affected or perhaps the constant media exposure is grating on your emotions and heightening your anxiety. Either way, The Family and Youth Institute is here for you. Take a deep breath and read on for tips and pointers that we hope will guide and help you and your family.

Parent Guidelines for Helping Youth after Mass Violence - The National Child Traumatic Stress Network

This attack might also act as a reminder to other violent events that family members have experienced in the past. How long it takes to recover will depend on what happened to you and your family during and after this event. Some adults and children have been seriously injured and will require medical treatment and long-term rehabilitation. Some are adjusting to the death of a loved one. Over time, some youth and adults will return to normal routines, while others may struggle. Children and teens may react differently to the attack depending on their age and prior experiences. Expect that youth may respond in different ways. Be supportive and understanding of different reactions, even when you are having your own reactions and difficulties. Children's and teen’s reactions are strongly influenced by how parents, relatives, teachers, and other caregivers respond to the attack. They often turn to these adults for information, comfort, and help. There are many reactions that are common after mass violence. These generally diminish with time, but knowing about them can help you to be supportive, both of yourself and your children. Click on the link to find out more information on common reactions and coping strategies

 Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers - National Association of School Psychologists

Make time to talk. Let their questions be your guide as to how much information to provide. Be patient; children and youth do not always talk about their feelings readily. Watch for clues that they may want to talk, such as hovering around while you do the dishes or yard work. Some children prefer writing, playing music, or doing an art project as an outlet. Young children may need concrete activities (such as drawing, looking at picture books, or imaginative play) to help them identify and express their feelings.

Click on the link to find out more information on common reactions and coping strategies

Restoring a Sense of Safety in the Aftermath of a Mass Shooting: Tips for Parents and Professionals

Communicate effectively with your children

A high profile event of this magnitude can result in confusion and distress among communities across the country. Distress can result in distortion about the facts of the event. Therefore, special attention should be given when communicating with children and adolescents.

  • When speaking with your children, it is best to use communication that is factual, simple, clear and sensitively worded.

  • Don’t overwhelm young children with too much information. They might want to talk intermittently or might need concrete information to be repeated.

Click on the link to find out more information on common reactions and coping strategies

 

Helping Kids Process News Reports of Violence - Focus on the Family

In today's media-saturated culture, families are surrounded by accounts of shootings, bombings and other mass killings. Our kids won't fully understand these stories, but they'll be frightened just the same. As parents, we need to help them have the necessary facts to process these tragic events and a larger understanding to ease their fears. Here are a few principles to help you talk with your children about man-made tragedies. Click on the link to find out more information on common reactions and coping strategies

  • Start with You

  • Nurture their trust in you

  • Tell the truth — in appropriate doses

  • Show them the bigger story

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For more valuable resources, activities and tips for helping children manage anxiety and other  difficult emotions, check out Coping Skills for Kids

RESOURCES FOR COMMUNITY & FAITH LEADERS

Spiritual Care and Mental Health for Disaster Response and RecoveryNYDIS Manual for NYC Religious Leaders

The Role of Religious Leaders in Crisis Response: Caring for the Soul (Chapter 7). In a disaster, religious leaders are front- line, trusted caregivers to whom people look for assistance and support for healing. A primary function of religious leaders is the care of the soul, which involves showing compassion and empathy for people in times of crisis by offering comfort, support, clarity, direction and spiritual resources. The religious leader is in a unique position to respond to people who are impacted by a disaster because she or he is already in an established role, has a core of relationships, and brings a faith perspective that speaks to the need for meaning that is so pervasive in the human experience of suffering.

Click on the link to find out more information and coping strategies

For Community & Faith Leaders - MentalHealth.org

Creating community connections for mental health

Faith and community leaders are often the first point of contact when individuals and families face mental health problems or traumatic events.  In fact, in times of crisis, many will turn to trusted leaders in their communities before they turn to mental health professionals.  When leaders know how to respond, they become significant assets to the overall health system.

Click on the link to find out more information and coping strategies

Tools to Help Caregivers Stay Healthy and Effective - NYC Thrive Learning Center

Community members, clients and congregants, colleagues may look to you for support with various types of trauma, loss and suffering. Listening to difficult stories and helping others overcome hardships can affect you in unexpected ways. It can also be enriching and rewarding. In watching community members develop resilience, you will witness both the strength of the individual and of the greater community. This section discusses the positive and negative aspects of finding yourself in this role, and offers tips for self-reflection and self-care. The Effects of Listening and Engaging with Others:  Be aware of your emotions and recognize when your work is becoming overwhelming or distressing. It is your responsibility to protect the fragile state of the people you serve. This includes  maintaining an appropriate and supportive response during your interactions with them.

Click on the link to find out more information and coping strategies

Compassion Fatigue, Burn-Out & Vicarious Trauma 

Those who are in positions of leadership, community responsibility or caregiving may  experience stress

due to the strain of ministering to others in times of crises or challenge.  If you are in such a role, you must

be aware of the signs of compassion fatigue or burnout. You can't pour from an empty cup.

SELF-CARE & COPING STRATEGIES

WEBINARS 

How To Talk With Muslim Children About Christchurch - NoorKids