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Adults Should Watch Kids for Signs of PTSD Following Shooting Bennett

Gun violence is a common occurrence in some Rochester neighborhoods, but a local psychiatrist says Wednesday's mass shooting was extreme even for challenged locations like inner cities.

Dr. Robert Weisman, associate professor of psychiatry at UR Medicine, says 60 to 80 percent of the victims of violence suffer from some level of post-traumatic stress. And that can include those who simply witnessed the event.  Weisman says younger people are more vulnerable than adults in this way.

"The fact is, younger individuals often may not have the ability both conceptually and emotionally, to understand a violent event. They have a lack of acumen and understanding of why even a senseless act occurred," he said.

As the new school year starts, Dr. Weisman advises parents, teachers, and any adults who come into contact with children to monitor them for signs of stress.

"We have to anticipate that people are going to have a hard time going back to school. They may be concerned about what might happen. Those empowered to oversee them; teachers, counselors, family, clergy, everybody needs to keep a monitor. Not to overwhelm, but to watch and see how people are doing."

Symptoms of PTSD can include nightmares, avoidant behaviors and isolation as well as hyperarousal. The symptoms may not appear immediately and are often delayed, according to Weisman.

Beth Adams joined WXXI as host of Morning Edition in 2012 after a more than two-decade radio career. She was the longtime host of the WHAM Morning News in Rochester. Her career also took her from radio stations in Elmira, New York, to Miami, Florida.
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