Cambridge Holds Boston Marathon Tragedy Candlelight Vigil

The City of Cambridge and the Cambridge Black Pastors’ Association will hold a Candlelight Vigil Wednesday, Apr. 17, at 7 p.m., on the steps of City Hall, 795 Mass. Ave., to offer comfort and support to those impacted by the tragedy that took place during the Boston Marathon.

Riverside Trauma Center Information on Resources in the Aftermath of a Tragedy

In the aftermath of the terrible tragedy that occurred at the Boston Marathon yesterday, we are receiving many requests for assistance from schools, hospitals, mental health agencies, and communities throughout Massachusetts. Caring adults are asking us for assistance to help them explain this unimaginable tragedy to young children.

What we can do is listen to our children and monitor their reactions and behaviors over the next few days and weeks. We can remind them it is our job as adults to keep them safe. We can also turn off the television and spend time playing and reading together.  

For our teenagers, this horrific event can become a "teachable moment." What are their friends saying about the event? Discuss how they can increase their own personal safety. Listen to them even if you do not like everything they are saying.

One of the most important things we can do as adults is monitor our own reactions to this event. If we are having a hard time managing our anxiety, we can be certain our children will be the first to notice. If we practice good self-care and take positive action, we will set a powerful example. Traumatic events can make us feel like we have lost control. One of the most important lessons we can teach our children is that we are vulnerable but not helpless.

We are including a number of resources for talking with children about traumatic events and how to manage children's reactions to trauma.

Here are the Riverside Trauma Center tip sheets on Talking with Your Children About Traumatic Events, Children and Trauma, and Practicing Self-Care After Traumatic Events

Although we are handling many local responses, you may know other people from outside Massachusetts who were participants or spectators at the marathon who are in need of help. An excellent resource for anyone experiencing distress is the nationwide Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990, which is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Just by calling, you can get crisis counseling and support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is free and confidential. More information is available online at Disaster Distress Helpline.

Below is a brief list of resources from other reputable organizations:

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) offers Resources in Response to the Bombings.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) offers Tips for Talking With and Helping Children and Youth Cope after a Disaster or Traumatic Event. This document provides specific information for talking to children of different ages.

Our thoughts continue to be with the Boston community.

Riverside Trauma Center