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A Resource Guide for Students Experiencing America’s Gun Violence Epidemic



Students in the United States must consistently navigate the threat of gun violence in schools. It may be difficult to process feelings or reactions that can come from a threat of gun violence. If you need to cope with the trauma from the threat of gun violence, here is some information that may help.

Check In on Yourself

  • First, determine if you are in a safe place.
    • Remove yourself from a dangerous situation if possible. 
    • Find a trusted adult or authority figure. Ask for help.
  • Do you have any physical concerns?
    • Are you breathing properly, or experiencing any pain?
    • Prioritize your physical well-being at this time by drinking water and resting.
  • How are you feeling right now? A Feeling Wheel like this one can be a helpful tool.
    • Is there more than one feeling you are experiencing? 
    • Is there someone you can talk to about these emotions? 
  • Journaling or writing down how you are feeling can help you process what happened.
  • Consider speaking to your school counselor, mental health professional, a parent or caretaker about what you are feeling. Check out the resources section of this guidance for additional ideas for support available across the country.

Check In on Others

  • Do you suspect anyone to be in danger? If so, call 9-1-1. 
  • After the threat of gun violence or an incident of gun violence, it is important to create a sense of community and support. Check in on friends and other students to see how they are holding up. 
  • Here is a helpful resource on how to help a friend who may be struggling and common warning signs.
    • Start the conversation by saying something like, “I know what happened was scary. How are you feeling?” 
    • Offer support by saying something like, “Is there anything I can do to support you right now?”

You Are Not Alone

Identifying and expressing how you are feeling with someone you trust is important to process what has happened. It is reasonable to have fear or struggle with aspects of your routine. Be kind to yourself during difficult times.

It is important to support yourself while seeking support from others. You are not alone. The resources below can connect you with someone who can help you.


SAMHSA Disaster Distress Line

  • What It Is: Free, 24/7 support for those in crisis to connect with a Crisis Counselor
  • How to Contact: Dial 1-800-985-5990
  • Español: Recursos Aquí

NAMI Youth

  • What It Is: Free resources for children and youth including information, activities, and tips on coping with mental health conditions.
  • How to Contact: Dial 800-950-6264
  • Español: Recursos Aquí

Crisis Text Line

  • What It Is: Free, 24/7 support for those in crisis to connect with a Crisis Counselor
  • How to Contact: Text HOME to 741741
  • Español: Recursos Aquí

The Trevor Line

  • What It Is: 24/7 free and confidential crisis counseling and suicide prevention counseling for LGBTQ+ youth
  • How to Contact: Dial 1-866-488-7386 or Chat Live here or Text “START” to 678-678

  • What It Is: 24/7 free and confidential service connecting people to local resources including mental health resources, disaster relief, food, housing and utilities programs
  • How to Contact: Dial 2-1-1
  • Español: Recursos Aquí


Dr. Willcox, Gloria. “The Feeling Wheel.”

Duffy, John. “Mass Shootings: How to Calm Anxiety and Fear in Yourself and Your Loved Ones.” CNN, 17 May 2022,

“Guide for Prevention and Responding to School Violence.” Home | Bureau of Justice Assistance, Accessed 26 May 2023.

NAMI. “How to Help a Friend.”

Preventing and Preparing for an Active Shooter Incident, Accessed 26 May 2023.

“Warning Signs of School Violence.” Warning Signs of School Violence, Accessed 25 May 2023.

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