School psychologists help classmates with the crime process

The violent death of 17-year-old Tabitha E. from Asperg is extremely shocking and stressful not only for the family, but also for classmates and club mates. Children and adolescents may, if necessary, seek help from the school psychological help.

Ludwigsburg district. The shock was still deep in the 17-year-olds’ classmates when they were visited by members of the criminal police and the school’s psychological service on Tuesday morning, just at the start of class at Mathilde Planck School. How do you react to a stressful event? You need help? Is there a need to speak? The task of the experts was to explain this. How the talks went on and how many students benefited from the help of professionals, of course, remains a mystery. “Every consultation is confidential,” says psychologist Anne Henchen, school psychology consultant at the Center for School Quality and Teacher Education (ZSL) Baden-Württemberg. According to the specialist, the purpose of this post-crisis care, as it is called in technical jargon, is to “bring the school and all those affected back into operation”.

Find out who needs help

It is important to find out what help students and teachers need, including individual ones, and what everyday school life may look like. While some students do not mind continuing the lesson in these situations, others prefer to talk about their grief. “The school system should feel that it can help itself – we support it,” says Anne Henchen.

Students are never asked about their current emotional situation. According to the expert, the question: “How are you?” it is taboo because it unnecessarily arouses emotions. Rather, ask students what they need and what help they need. This also applies to after-school time, because even then some children and young people still need someone to be with them. It is very important to understand the needs of each student. Some people may only need help after two months, which they then receive for granted. What stress looks like after such a trauma-like event varies from student to student and, according to Anne Henchen, can range from sleep and concentration disorders to inner restlessness and anxiety. In addition, a question of guilt is often raised in which students wonder if they missed something before and if they could have helped.

Police inform classmates first hand

For police, the main task on Tuesday was to inform classmates first-hand about what was going on to prevent rumors and speculation. According to Steffen Grabenstein, spokesman for the Ludwigsburg Police Headquarters, caring for students is “a very important element in the process of processing events and dealing with grief.” Like the school psychological service, the police also find that reactions to such events are very individual. “For example, fear, insecurity, loss of confidence in others, and social withdrawal may develop. That’s why it’s so important to keep an eye on this group of people at an early stage and be able to counteract the right trends at the right time, ”says Grabenstein.

It is important to create spaces where those affected can open up. Further processing can take place in the classroom or in small groups and in close circle of friends. “Some are looking for a creative way to express themselves, like designing a condolence book, others are very keen to move,” says a police spokesman. It is extremely important to accompany those affected without defining or even imposing specific procedures on them.

According to Grabenstein, it is usually helpful if those affected do not feel lonely, but can exchange ideas with others and know where and from whom they can get support. It can be family, friends, classmates and teachers, but also other institutions such as the mourning of children and young people in Ludwigsburg.

Physical and emotional stress was usually self-limiting and those affected should be accompanied, supported and taken seriously. It may be necessary to consult medical or therapeutic help for more serious problems.

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