We Support Parkland
On February 14, 2018, an armed young man killed 17 people and wounded at least 15 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Our deepest sympathies go out to the victims of this senseless act of violence and to their families and loved ones.
We mourn the loss of these innocent students, and we grieve with their families and friends.
Support and Outreach in South Florida
In times like this, we all seek some comfort. Whether you’re a Florida Blue member or not, please know you can call on any of the following resources to get help if you need it:
- Free, 24-hour grief counseling in English and Spanish through our behavioral health partner, New Directions. Call 833-848-1762, day or night, where specially trained counselors will be waiting to talk to you or loved ones during this difficult time
- Brochures and other information on grief support from the Children’s Bereavement Center at all Florida Blue Centers and at the Coral Springs Sanitas
Talking to Children About Violence
When these senseless tragedies happen, the children in our lives will look to us to provide some sense of normalcy and to reassure them. It can feel overwhelming to know what to say. The National Association of School Psychologists offers these talking points.
- Schools are safe places. School staff works with parents and public safety providers (local police and fire departments, emergency responders, hospitals, etc.) to keep you safe.
- We all play a role in the school safety. Be observant and let an adult know if you see or hear something that makes you feel uncomfortable, nervous or frightened.
- There is a difference between reporting, tattling or gossiping. You can provide important information that may prevent harm either directly or anonymously by telling a trusted adult what you know or hear.
- Although there is no absolute guarantee that something bad will never happen, it is important to understand the difference between the possibility of something happening and probability that it will affect you (our school community).
- Senseless violence is hard for everyone to understand. Doing things that you enjoy, sticking to your normal routine, and being with friends and family help make us feel better and keep us from worrying about the event.
- Sometimes people do bad things that hurt others. They may be unable to handle their anger, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or suffering from mental illness.
- Adults (parents, teachers, police officers, doctors, faith leaders) work very hard to get those people help and keep them from hurting others. It is important for all of us to know how to get help if we feel really upset or angry and to stay away from drugs and alcohol.
- Stay away from guns and other weapons. Tell an adult if you know someone has a gun. Access to guns is one of the leading risk factors for deadly violence.
- Violence is never a solution to personal problems. Students can be part of the positive solution by participating in anti-violence programs at school, learning conflict mediation skills, and seeking help from an adult if they or a peer is struggling with anger, depression, or other emotions they cannot control.
Sources: National Association of School Psychologists, 2017. Download a PDF version of the image here.
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