How to talk to kids about world events and mental health in first responders: A podcast with Joy Acaso, LCSW

 Listen in with Nick Neral and Joy Acaso, LCSW.

Joy Acaso, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker in the state of Florida who focuses on anxiety.

It goes without saying, 2022 hasn't been the easiest year for many. Social media and news platforms fill our feeds with local and international events in ways that are designed to have us seeking more information. Let's take a look at a couple key world events you may have seen in 2022

  • The ongoing COVID pandemic
  • Russia invades Ukraine
  • Racially motivated shootings in Buffalo, NY and California
  • A school shooting in Uvalde, TX
  • A mass shooting during a July 4th parade outside of Chicago, Illinois
  • 21 teens were found dead in a South African tavern
  • 51 people believed to be migrants were found dead and abandoned in a trailer in Texas
  • Roe vs Wade
To hear how Joy approaches conversations with her children, skip to 1:30 in the podcast. As Joy mentions in the podcast, Joy and her partner made the decision to not be fearful of any question their children may approach them with. With her 14 year old, Joy actively asks her daughter what topics were covered in school or what she sees online. As a parent it's important to understand what kids may be exposed to nowadays in school and social media. It's important to acknowledge there's a large chance kids are exposed to world events online, depending on their age.

With Joy's younger child who is 8 years, the conversations are a bit different. 8 year olds may or may not be hearing the same things in school or on social media. Though, if kids are around the discussion it's important to include them in conversations. Joy reiterates that she is always there for questions her kids may come to her with. Joy says that in younger kids discussing safety, trust, and communication are paramount in helping set a solid foundation for her kids. 

Skipping to about 21 minutes into the podcast, I ask Joy about the mental health effects of consistenly being exposed to traumatic events, whether the first responder may be a police officer or a healthcare professional. How can first responders navigate setting healthy boundaries in their life when they are exposed to the extremes more than the everyday person?