Community violence can occur suddenly and without warning leaving many youth and families with a heightened sense of fear. Common types of community violence that affect youth include, but are not limited to, individual and group conflicts (e.g., bullying, fights among gangs and other groups, shootings in public areas such as schools, community parks, or neighborhoods). When these events happen, youth and families may experience a wide range of reactions including shock, anger, fear, loss, and grief. Some individuals may find it more difficult to cope following a traumatic event like this. Support from a caring trusted adult, teacher, school counselor or nurse, or primary care provider can help youth heal and recover following a traumatic event. The NCTSN has resources to help youth and families affected by community violence.

For Teens: Coping After Mass Violence
Offers information for teens about common reactions to mass violence, as well as tips for taking care of themselves and connecting with others. Also Available in Spanish.

Community Violence: Reactions and Actions in Dangerous Times
Helps youth recognize that community violence does not have to dominate their lives if they understand their reactions to it, understand how to keep themselves safe, and understand how to make positive choices in dangerous times.

Talking to Teens When Violence Happens 
Offers guidance on talking with teens when violence happens. This fact sheet includes information on checking in with yourself, clarifying your goal, providing information and options, reflection, asking helpful questions, going slow, labeling emotions, validating, and monitoring media and social media exposure. Also available in Spanish.

Talking to Children When Scary Things Happen
Offers guidance on talking with children and youth when scary things happen. This fact sheet includes information on checking in with yourself, clarifying your goal, providing information, reflecting, asking helpful questions, going slow, labeling emotions, validating, and reducing media exposure. Also available in Spanish.

Creating Supportive Environments When Scary Things Happen
Offers guidance on creating supportive environments for youth when scary things happen. This fact sheet includes information on routines, rhythm, and rituals. Also available in Spanish.

Assisting Parents/Caregivers in Coping with Collective Traumas
Offers strategies to help parents/caregivers cope with collective traumas. This fact sheet also provides guidance on what parents/caregivers can do to care for their children as they cope.

Community Violence and Civil Unrest: Youth Responses to Complex Harm and Collective Healing
Features a conversation about creating awareness regarding youth responses to community violence, civil unrest, and societal history of marginalization and racial trauma. This webinar shares creative strategies and develops practices to help youth challenge these perpetual traumas through trusting relationships, radical healing, and supported action.

Traumatic Impacts of Community Violence, COVID-19, and Civil Unrest on Immigrant Families
Focuses on current challenges and recommendations for addressing the needs of young immigrant children, youth and families; highlighting the importance of community partnership, early childhood protections; addressing substance use and its effects, as well as faith based supportive approaches. The COVID-19 pandemic, along with severe immigration enforcement policies in recent years, and historical and present structural inequities have all had a disproportionate impact on BIPOC communities, including marginalized immigrant populations in the US. This has resulted in increased risk factors, including decreased access to financial, technological, social, educational and healthcare resources resulting in an increasing risk of infection, family separation and loss, trauma exposure and victimization.

Childhood Traumatic Grief: Youth Information Sheet
Offers information for youth to help them understand the differences between grief and traumatic grief, the signs and symptoms of traumatic grief in children and youth, and what to do to feel better.

Helping School-Age Children with Traumatic Grief: Tips for Caregivers
Describes how school-age children may feel when struggling with the death of someone close and offers tips on what caregivers can do to help. Also available in Spanish.


Click to follow NCTSN on social media!



This project was funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The views, policies, and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of SAMHSA or HHS.