While the recent crisis situation and threat in our community appears to be over, concern and anxieties may be heightened for several days to come. This comes at a time when there is extensive media coverage about the upcoming 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings. There are ways that you can help to create calm during difficult times.

  • Although children have many of the same reactions as adults do to a traumatic or difficult event, they have different ways of expressing their reactions and need special help to cope.  Limit television viewing of news reports, particularly for younger children.
  • Let children know that tragic incidents are not common and that, day-to-day, schools are safe places.
  • Explain the facts that you know and reassure your child they are safe.  Encourage him/her to talk.
  • Talk honestly about the incident and share some of your own feelings about it. Children and teens need to feel informed when they see their parents and other adults reacting to a crisis. Explain in age-appropriate ways.
  • Encourage children and teens to talk about their concerns and to express their feelings. Some children may be hesitant to initiate such a conversation, so you may want to ask what your child has heard and how they feel about it.
  • Spend extra time with your children and your family. Hugs help!
  • Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Educators
  • Seek help if you are concerned about your feelings, or reactions, or those of a friend, member of your family.  Talk to someone you trust . . . a friend, family member, school counselor, clergy, physician.  You can call us at Jefferson Center, 303 425-0300. Jefferson Center is a partner in the statewide crisis network called Colorado Crisis Services available for any mental health, substance use or emotional crisis, 24/7. Call 1-844-493-8255 or Text TALK to 38255 to access Colorado Crisis Services. Counselors are onsite and ready to talk at the walk-in crisis and recovery center at 4643 Wadsworth Blvd, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033.

The anniversary of any loss or traumatic event can bring back memories that stir up emotions again.  People may experience a variety of feelings and reactions.  Renewed feelings of fear, sadness, and anxiety are common. Feelings of embarrassment are common for some people because they think they shouldn’t be impacted by something that didn’t happen to them or should be “be over it” by now.  Some may have feelings of guilt for being a survivor.  In some cases, new trauma-related symptoms occur, while many others will feel fine.  Remember that you are a unique individual and your feelings and reactions are also unique.  Whether you’re feeling troubled or whether you’re feeling that things are ok—this is normal for you! If you are concerned about your feelings or reactions talk to someone you trust.  Talking to a friend, a family member, doctor or faith leader can help.

Sometimes, when something happens that reminds you of a previous threatening or emotional situation, it can trigger a trauma response. Trauma triggers include sounds, smells or visual things.  The news report of another violent crime, a song you hear, a dream of someone or a flashback memory can be traumatic triggers.  Traumatic triggers can make it seem like you’re right back there, yes, even 20 years later.

Some of the most common reactions to critical situations are:

  • Feeling emotionally “numb”, withdrawn, disconnected or different from others
  • Recurring thoughts or nightmares about the event
  • Trouble sleeping or changes in appetite
  • Being on edge, being easily startled or becoming overly alert
  • Feeling depressed, sad and having low energy
  • Experiencing memory problems
  • Feeling “scattered” and unable to focus
  • Feeling irritable, easily agitated, or angry and resentful
  • Spontaneously crying, feeling a sense of despair and hopelessness

As the 20th Anniversary nears… is this really normal?

April 20 is the 20th Anniversary of the shootings at Columbine High School. The anniversary of any loss or traumatic event can bring back memories that stir up emotions again.  People may experience a variety of feelings and reactions.  Renewed feelings of fear, sadness, and anxiety are common. Feelings of embarrassment are common for some people because they think they should “be over it” by now. Some may have feelings of guilt for being a survivor. In some cases, new trauma-related symptoms occur, while many others will feel fine. Remember that you are a unique individual and your feelings and reactions are also unique.  Whether you’re feeling troubled or whether you’re feeling that things are ok—this is normal for you! If you are concerned about your feelings or reactions talk to someone you trust.  Talking to a friend, a family member, doctor or faith leader can help. READ MORE

Take Care of Yourself during Difficult Times

Sometimes stress can creep up on you without your being aware of it, until it accumulates and you suddenly feel overwhelmed, excessively angry, anxious or depressed. Some indicators to pay attention to- problems sleeping, drinking or eating more, lack of motivation, feeling “discombobulated,” or more disorganized and anxious than usual, temper shorter than usual, impatience with family members, in the workplace or with friends. READ MORE

Reactions to Trauma

Everyone has a different reaction to traumatic events. Each person’s timing is different too. For some, the reaction is immediate and dramatic. For some, the reaction it is short lived and for others it can seem like it will last forever. Others have slow and delayed reactions. Some people are very visible with their responses and others keep it to themselves. There are as many different ways to handle emotional or traumatic news, as there are different people in the world. READ MORE

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Preparing for the 20th Anniversary

The best way to cope is to plan ahead.

  • You may want to be alone or you may want to be with others.
  • You may want to go to the mountains, attend a church service, or complete private rituals such as planting a flower, a tree or lighting a candle.
  • Find a creative outlet.
  • Talk about your memories or how you are feeling.
  • Restrict the amount of media coverage of the tragic day 20 years ago that you watch, listen to and/or read. We know that the more television coverage of a traumatic event(s) you watch, the greater the likelihood that you may experience significant distress and trauma.
  • Discuss the event with children in age-appropriate ways. Do not allow children to watch television coverage of about the traumatic event.
  • Find ways to remember the good.
  • Don’t let others tell you how you should
  • Take care of yourself…eat well and exercise.
  • Remember you are not alone.

Crisis Support

The Colorado Crisis Services support line is available 24 hours / 7 days a week / 365 days a year

1-844-493-8255 or Text TALK to 38255

What is Colorado Crisis Services?

Jefferson Center is a partner in the statewide crisis network called Colorado Crisis Services, offering:

  • Hotline
  • Walk-in crisis centers
  • Mobile crisis services throughout the state

Jefferson Center’s Crisis & Recovery Center is one of the walk-in crisis facilities that are open 24/7 providing support, information, and referrals to anyone in need. As always, Jefferson Center’s main phone number, 303-425-0300, is available 24/7.

Jefferson Center’s local walk-in crisis center is located at:

Crisis & Recovery Center, 4643 Wadsworth Blvd., Wheat Ridge, CO  80033

For more information on the Colorado Crisis Services, please visit the website at www.coloradocrisisservices.org.