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The importance of taking care of children's mental health after a natural disaster

Therapist Tiffany Harris said the most important thing to do for kids is to give them a space to ask questions.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — More than a dozen children have died as a result of the devastating tornadoes that ripped through western Kentucky on Dec. 10.

For the children who survived the storm, it's a trauma many of them will live with for decades. Even those who didn't experience the storm can feel the effects.

Tiffany Harris, a therapist and the owner of Transcend Counseling Services in Louisville, said the most important thing to do for kids is to give them a space to ask questions.

RELATED: How to help Western Kentucky families following historic tornado outbreak 

Depending on their age, they may not know what a tornado is, what's happening around them or what their neighbors are going through. Harris said it's crucial that children know it's okay to talk about things they don't understand. 

She also suggested trying to keep one thing normal about the child's routine to help them cope.

"Anything that reminds them what their normal routine was creates a sense of safety," Harris said.

In times of crisis, Harris said it's important to ask the people what they need after they've been affected by a disaster. It may not always be material goods; sometimes, they just need someone to talk to.

Right now, Transcend Counseling Services is offering six free sessions to anyone impacted by the western Kentucky tornadoes. More information about their services is available on their website at transcendcounselingservices.org.

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