Crisis or Traumatic Event

A school crisis is a traumatic event that disrupts the normal functioning of students and staff, thereby requiring immediate response and support. Examples of crises include: bereavement caused by the death of a loved one or community member, a catastrophic environmental event, or a threat to physical safety.

Helping your Child Cope

One of the difficulties that parents experience during crises is that they have not had adequate time to deal with their own reactions when they are called upon to help their child. Here are some of the things you can do to help your child deal with the impact of a crisis:

  • encourage your child to express their feelings through talking, drawing, and playing
  • be attentive and encourage your child to ask questions
  • offer support as your child interprets the events
  • find out what your child may be thinking and feeling in reaction to the traumatic event
  • be direct and give honest information
  • reassure your child that you will do everything possible to ensure their safety and that other adult authority figures (elected officials, school officials, the police) will do the same
  • do not flood your child with too many television images of the tragic event
  • acknowledge normal feelings and reactions
  • encourage healthy ways to cope

The resources below can support you and your family through a crisis. Every school is required to have a Crisis Team. If additional support is needed, you may contact your child’s counselor and/or the crisis team at your child’s school.

Crisis Support Referrals and Resources

  • 888-NYC-WELL provides mental health and social service referrals by zip code and by family medical insurance. The NYC-WELL Crisis Counselors can also determine whether to dispatch the Children’s Mobile Crisis Team, which provides rapid professional care for children and teens (ages 0 to 18) and their families (at home or in school).
  • Mental Health for All is a central hub where every New Yorker can connect to care and find mental health resources for themselves and their loved ones. No matter the age, ZIP code, ethnicity, or gender, we want every New Yorker to be able to live their best life.
  • Health Information Tools for Empowerment (HITE) is a resource for medical, mental health and related services in New York.
  • Communilfe services include "Life is Precious," a Latina Suicide Prevention Program, and the VIDA Guidance Center.
  • The Samaritans of New York Suicide Prevention Hotline, which can be reached at 212-673-3000, 24 hours/7 days.

Natural Disasters

Shootings and Violent Tragedies in the News

Trauma

Resources for Families - COVID-19

The New York City Department of Education cares deeply about the social-emotional wellbeing NYCDOE's children and families. We recognize that the sharing of information about COVID-19, and the resulting school closures, will have a significant impact on each of us. Increased stress and anxiety are common responses to the coronavirus outbreak. The resources below can support you and your family through this challenging time. In addition to resources for stress management, there are helpful strategies and resources for proactively developing your child's social and emotional skills.

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