Resources for managing trauma after mass shootings

May 25, 2022

A gunman killed 19 children and a teacher at a Texas elementary school Tuesday and, as Arash Javanbakht, Wayne Health provider and associate professor of psychiatry at Wayne State University wrote in The Conversation, you don’t need to be nearby to be affected emotionally but such events.

“While the immediate survivors are most affected, the rest of society suffers, too,” she wrote.

“Every time there is a mass shooting in a new place, people learn that kind of place is now on the not-very-safe list,” Javanbakh wrote. “People worry not only about themselves but also about the safety of their children and other loved ones.”

Here are a list of resources, including tips for dealing with trauma after events such as the Texas school shooting.

– Connecticut has a list of crisis services, created by the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, including a crisis hotline (1-800-HOPE-135 or simply 211).

– New York City has a tip sheet on how to cope after a mass shooting, including crisis hotlines. “It is natural to experience a variety of emotions such as shock, disbelief, sorrow, numbness, fear, anger, frustration and grief,” the sheet says. “Feeling exhausted, having trouble with sleeping, eating, concentrating, or remembering even simple things are also common.”

– The American Counseling Association offers some tips on coping with the aftermath of a shooting, including limiting media consumption. “While it is important to stay informed, media portrayals of shootings and mass deaths have been shown to cause acute stress and post-traumatic stress symptoms. Limit your exposure and take a break from news sources,” they write.

– The National Alliance for Mental Illness has a list of seven tools for managing traumatic stress. These are truly valuable tools that perhaps we should all learn because, as they write, “it’s better to have an abundance of tools at the ready for when you’re feeling the scary reach of traumatic stress.”

– The National Institutes of Health has a more biological, science-based look at the effects of traumatic stress on the body and mind. “There are real neurobiological consequences of trauma that are associated with PTSD,” one researcher wrote.

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Resources for managing trauma after mass shootings
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