Update 7:50 p.m.:
As details of the horrific school massacre in Newtown continue to unfold and are made public, parents should know there are services and assistance from local, state and national agencies to help cope with the enormity of shootings that left 20 children, 6 adults and the gunman dead.
Kids in Crisis, the Greenwich-based 24-hour emergency shelter and counseling service that's the only 24-hour, 7-day agency in the state is offering its services to local and state residents.
Shari Shapiro, the center's exeuctive director, in a statement said, "Kids in Crisis is here to help the community in any way needed, including providing emotional and therapeutic support for parents, students, and school staff, and serving as a resource for the community.
"Kids in Crisis has assembled its Crisis Response Team and will have Crisis Counselors and Clinicians available to anyone in the community throughout the weekend and into next week.
"Our 24 hour Crisis Hotline (203-327-KIDS) is a resource to anyone that needs support, including students, teachers, parents, and community providers.
"We are available to meet individually with staff and students within schools, or act as a support to each school’s crisis team as needed.
The Greenwich Public School system has shared with staff and parents websites for helpful information:
Update 7:19 p.m.:
The United Way of Connecticut has provided these links to websites "for resources to help children cope with traumatic events":
- EMPS - 2-1-1 is the access point for Emergency Mobile Psychiatric Services, a mobile crisis line for children and youth. Dial 2-1-1 and press 1 to reach a crisis call specialist who can connect you directly to a mental health clinician in your area.
- www.211ct.org - visit our website to find local trauma resources. Enter your zip code or town and search (under Search by Service Keyword) for one of the following terms: Child Guidance, Therapy Referrals, Bereavement Counseling, General Bereavement Support Groups or Crime Victim/Witness Counseling.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Tips for Talking with and Helping Children Cope After a Disaster
- SAMHSA's Disaster Distress Helpline offers a counseling option available by text: Text "TalkWithUs" to 66746. Spanish speakers can text "Hablanos" to 66746.
Schools Superintendent Stephen Falcone has sent the attached list of suggestions for helping children cope with the Newtown school shooting news and sent this message with it:
The tragedy in Newtown will require all of us to support our children to the best of our ability. I have attached a document that provides useful information. Please know that we will be reviewing all of our safety precautions and security systems.
Also, we will be preparing to support the emotional well-being of our students, particularly upon their return on Monday.
If your child experiences anxiety around this issue and/or returning to school, please reach out to building administrators so our staff, including our mental health professionals, can provide guidance and support.
Editor's note: For continuing coverage of this story on Patch, click here.
See also: Darien Cops Increase School Patrols [UPDATE]