FORT MYERS, Fla. — With the recent mass shooting at Robb Elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, it may be hard for you to speak with your child about what's going on in the news.
If this is the case for you, you aren't alone.
Some parents may find it difficult to talk to their children about the issue and may wonder with the recent mass shooting, how much does mental health service play into this?
According to a report from Mental Health of America, Florida is currently ranked 48th nationwide on access to mental health care. 663,000 adults in the sunshine state are suffering from mental illness and 116,000 youth is suffering from depression-not gaining needed treatment.
"We have to provide mental health services,” said David Thomas, a forensics professor at Florida Gulf Coast University. "Florida has got to invest in mental health, which is tough. they have no desire to do and never have."
Some say that mental health services could help prevent tragedies like the one that happened in Texas which left 21 people dead, and a community in mourning.
“We really need to break the stigma about getting help for mental health," said Amy Ston, Director of Partnership and Clinical Services with Valerie's House, "If we can do that, we may be able to get the help that some of these children need.”
Valerie's House is a non-profit organization that provides support and mental services to families who have lost a loved one. With such a tragedy as this, it will not be an easy discussion for parents to have with their children. However, specialists like Ston said that it is important to have a discussion.
"We have to be mindful of those conversations and what we are allowing to share in the details... It doesn't have to be graphic," Ston said.
When it comes to online materials, monitor what they are reading and seeing, and most importantly ask them how they feel about what is going on.
Ston further shared, "They are unfortunately hearing misinformation…and we want to make sure that the information they hear and understand is correct."
Another useful tip Ston provided was that age plays a huge factor in what information you should share with your child.
"Reassure them there are people to help them," said Ston. "Although these things happen, we need to make sure we carry on with our lives for our children - and that we keep our structure and our routines. Set aside some time to talk with them, that way they can feel safe and secure."