Impacts Of Child Trauma And Ways To Recover

GOLDEN TRIANGLE, Miss. (WCBI) – Over the weekend, two heartbreaking situations took place across our viewing area, involving young children.

One tragic case is out of Monroe County, where a 9-year-old boy allegedly shot and killed his 14-year-old sister and in Union County, a child was an eyewitness to his father’s fatal shooting.

Mental health experts say devastating situations leave behind traumatic impacts on the children and the effects aren’t just emotional; they can also be physical.

The accused shooter in the deadly Monroe County incident over the weekend, is a 9-year old boy.

Sheriff Cecil Cantrell says it’s a case where you’re not sure if the child even understands what he’s done.

“At some point though, he is going to realize that when he gets a little older and just thinks about his life, what he’s going to have to deal with in his life, knowing what he has done.”

Seasoned mental health expert John McLendon says he’s worked with many adults who have experienced childhood trauma.

“A lot of times, problems can tend to pop up as they get older, so it’s a good idea to sort of be there for when they’re ready.”

Dr. Keith Watson is going on 16 years as a pediatrician and says the traumatic situations leave children dealing with mental distress.

“The stress on their mind of dealing with that and trying to grasp the understanding of a death, which is hard for an adult.”

Watson says that in addition to depression, worry, and psychological problems, the trauma can also lead to physical illness.

“Recurring headaches, abdominal pain, post traumatic stress disorder, nightmares. It can translate to poor sleep, poor school performance. It can become acting out.”

However, with all of that being said, McLendon says studies show children tend to bounce back much faster than adults.

“For whatever reason, whether it be physically, emotionally, children are a lot more resilient I think a lot of times than adults. Maybe it’s because of their developmental level and they just don’t understand the severity of maybe what’s happened.”

Mental health experts encourage children, who have gone through such situations, to see a therapist.

WCBI also reached out to District Attorney John Weddle to find out if any charges would be filed in the Monroe County shooting case.

He declined to comment.

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