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Therapist shares mental health warning signs and how to talk to kids about school shootings

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Several reports have claimed warning signs were missed when it came to accused Florida shooter Nikolas Cruz's mental health. 

We spoke with a local therapist about red flags schools and parents can be on the lookout for. 

Tanager Place is a social service agency in Cedar Rapids that specifically provides therapy for families and children. 

Abby Seyfer, therapist & Program Manager of School Based Program at Tanager Place says there are warning signs teachers can look out for that could mean something is wrong. 

"Withdrawing or kind of isolating is always a cue just to step in and ask how they're doing," she told us. 

Seyfer says relationships are vital. 

"Research shows that no matter what kind of adverse childhood experience a child has had, resilience is shown to come about when they have a safe and supportive relationship with an adult," she says. 

Images on T.V. can be hard for adults to look at, let alone children. Seyfer says parents should create a safe space to have that conversation. 

 "If the kiddo is younger obviously not sharing too many details because their imagination will go kind of wild," she told us. 

 "But as the child ages they'll have more questions and it's okay to be honest," she added. 

Tanager Place put out specific tips for  parents when it comes to having conversations about school shootings. 

They include reminding children schools are safe places and violence is never the answer, you can read the PDF here: 

Tanager Place is offering a family engagement night tomorrow night, there will be a session called "when bad things happen." It will cover how to talk to kids about difficult topics. 

Engagement night will start at 5:30 at the downtown library, it is free and open to the public. 

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