Facing the 20th anniversary of the Columbine tragedy

Saturday, April 20, marked the 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School tragedy.  Many of us remember where we were and what we were doing when we heard the news. Maybe you weren’t even born yet, but if you grew up in Colorado, you grew up with the Columbine “legacy.” Local and national media has shifted into high gear with 20th anniversary coverage.  It brings those awful memories right back, doesn’t it?  The way we worried when our kids were out of our sight, worried for their safety.  Worried for our own safety.  It’s not at all unusual to feel anxious and sad 20 years after the event.

Here are some helpful tips to help you navigate through:

  • Give yourself permission to disconnect from media, including social media, to lessen your exposure to coverage about the event.
  • Encourage your children and teens to talk about their concerns and to express their feelings. Some children may be hesitant to initiate conversation, so you may want to ask what they’ve heard and how they feel about it.
  • If the looming anniversary is affecting your sleep, concentration, or social interactions, talk to someone you trust about how you feel. A friend, a work colleague, a member of your spiritual circle or a family member may be more than happy to listen.
  • Resiliency is the secret to navigating through hard times like this. Now is the time to fortify your resiliency with self-care. Indulge yourself with good and healthy food, enough sleep and any enjoyable social activities that bring you peace and happiness. Expose yourself to the beautiful Colorado landscapes and parks, music, art or a good book.  Self-care isn’t selfish indulgence, it’s an important protective factor for good mental health.
  • Monitor your alcohol, sugar and caffeine intake because they really do make you feel worse during stressful times.
  • Give yourself permission to cancel some of your obligations so you don’t feel so pressured by your “to-do list” right now.
  • If you’re feeling overwhelmed and hopeless, we are here for you. Here’s the link to get started with supportive services at Community Reach Center: https://www.communityreachcenter.org/help-starts-here/. Also call Colorado Crisis Services 24/7 at 1-844-493-8255 or text

Remember that you’re not alone. Although Columbine was a national tragedy, it was Colorado’s family. The best thing we can do for ourselves and one another is to embrace the good and live our best lives.