Guidance from Dr. Henry on "Fall Out" release

Dear Oxford Families,

When children and adults experience trauma they can quickly become triggered into their traumatic memories through sensory input of smell, sound, sights, and/or touch. Learning to manage these triggers is the path to healing that will reduce intrusive thoughts and reactions to reminders of the traumatic events. At times there can be random external triggers like songs, movies, and/or certain places which are out of children/youth/parental control.

Oxford Schools has learned that HBO Max is releasing a fictional movie, “Fall Out,” on a school shooting on January 27, 2022. Such a movie is likely to be retriggering to both children/youth and adults resulting in a barrage of intrusive memories based upon their own traumatic experiences that occurred on November 30, 2021. Such intrusive memories triggered by the movie can return children/youth/adults to scenes that may overwhelm their ability to cope and harm their current functioning including violent memories, increased anxiety, emotional isolation, powerlessness, and ongoing fear of future harm to themselves or others.

We are recommending that students not watch this movie to prevent trauma triggering. However, we recognize that some students may insist on watching the movie. If this is true for your child please tell them that you want to watch the movie with them. It is important for them to know that watching this movie can be so potentially triggering to them. If you and your child decide to watch the movie please talk with them about how the movie affected them including any memories that were experienced, their level of stress, and any feelings. Such support will be extremely helpful if they watch the movie in minimizing their trauma triggering, helping them manage their emotions, and for you as parents to provide a safe space for your child to talk about their own narrative. If your child is currently in therapy please consult their therapist for specific concerns about how this movie may affect them.

Please feel free to contact me with further questions, [email protected]

Dr. James Henry