SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — Details of the apparent murder-suicide in Enoch that left three adults and five children dead are disturbing and tough to process.
It can be especially that way for children.
But McCall Lyon, licensed clinical psychologist and teleconsultation director at The Children’s Center Utah, told KUTV 2News parents shouldn’t shy away from discussing it.
“It is so understandable to want to shield our children from grief,” Lyon said, “but if this is something that they’re going to hear about, it is always best that they hear it from us as their parents, and it’s always best that they’re encouraged to talk about it.”
Lyon advised talking to kids based on their age.
“Start with some basic information including who died and, for very young children, help them understand that death is a permanent change that happens when our bodies can’t work anymore,” she said.
It’s important that children are encouraged to ask questions, Lyon said, otherwise they may suffer alone without any answers.
“At a time like this, where we get the most comfort as humans is coming together in these experiences,” said Lyon.
With such sobering details about the shooting deaths, Lyon said reassuring children is critical.
“Parents just being there, providing support, encouraging questions, and reminding that child that their body is safe can make all the difference,” she said. “You know what’s best for your child, and you know how to help and support them.”
Lyon also said parents who notice their child is struggling should seek mental health or counseling services. In the aftermath of the shooting in Enoch, the Iron County School District said counselors are available for anyone who needs support.