Children’s Bereavement Specialist shares ideas to help children who witness traumatic events

The Children’s Bereavement Center provides grief support services for over 15,000 people

San Antonio – San Antonio Police investigated two different cases Tuesday where children were forced to witness a traumatic event.

First, an overnight standoff ended with police shooting a suspect. It happened in the 3100 block of Roosevelt Avenue. When police entered the home, a woman was dead with three children nearby.

Over on the city’s East Side, three other children lead authorities to a gruesome scene in the 1500 block of Upland Road around 4 a.m. Officers discovered a bloody scene and the children’s mother was found stabbed in a bathtub.

The children in both cases are safe, but what happens after traumatic events like these?

“After a traumatic event, some PTSD symptoms may arise. Something might look like nightmares, it could be flashbacks and could be the child being hyper vigilant, jumpy,” said Marcella Hayes, trauma focused certified counselor.

Hayes said children can also experience headaches, tummy aches and digestive symptoms.

She works at the Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas, which provides counseling and peer support services for children and families when a loved one has died.

She said if you don’t address these traumatic events, there could be serious consequences for them down the line.

“There could be ongoing anxiety, depression, emotional distress, not understanding what a healthy relationship looks like,” Hayes said.

Hayes said there are different ways the center helps children address traumatic events.

“We will start with psychoeducation, getting a healthy knowledge about the traumatic event, helping them relax, self-regulate, helping them identify their feelings,” Hayes said.

The center also branches out to children at school.

“We have our teams going out to the schools and providing services for those children,” Hayes said.

She said every case is different but there are many resources out there.

Currently, the center is providing grief support services to more than 15,000 people.

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