Unexpected tragedies, like the devastating shootings at a theater in Colorado, can
be overwhelming and take a serious emotional toll on everyone, even those of us
who weren’t there or don’t live in the area. If you or someone you know is overwhelmed
by news of this tragedy, it's important not to ignore those feelings. There are
things you can do cope and feel better.
People who have dealt with issues like depression or anxiety may have a harder time
dealing with news of tragedy. If you're feeling hopeless or are worried about a
friend, you can call 1-800-273-TALK anytime for a confidential conversation with
Don't hold it in. It's normal to feel sadness, anxiety, fear, anger or a mix of
those emotions, in the aftermath of a tragedy. Trying to understand senseless acts
like shootings and process the pain they cause can be overwhelming. It's important
not to hold it all in. Talk to a friend, family member or a counselor. If you don't
have anyone you feel comfortable talking to, call 1-800-273-TALK for a confidential
chat with someone who can help.
Turn if off. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – news
of tragedy and details of its impact come at us from every angle. Sometimes you
need to flip off your tv, computer or phone, and focus on something else. When you
do follow the news, stick to reliable sources and avoid rumors or speculation.
up and get out. Tragedies like this can weigh so heavily on us that it makes it
hard to move. The simple act of taking a walk, hitting the gym, running some errands
or grabbing food with friends, can help us cope with tough feelings and feel better.
Look out for friends: If you notice a friend or family member is having a hard time
dealing with news about a tragedy, reach out and offer support. Look out for warning
signs that they are feeling hopeless. These could include not wanting to see other
people, not sleeping or sleeping all the time, increased use of drugs or alcohol,
or talking about death or dying. It is natural for people near a tragedy to feel
anxious and have some difficulty concentrating or sleeping for a short while. These
feelings should get better in a few days (or weeks for those very closely impacted).
If they are not improving, seek help for yourself or a friend. Get more tips on
helping a friend here.
Turn into anger into action: It's so easy to be overcome
with anger by senseless acts of violence. It can be healthy to express that anger,
but we can also choose to turn that anger into positive action. Whether it be talking
about your feelings, reaching out to support other people coping with the tragedy
or just taking a few minutes to be grateful for the good things in your life, positive
actions are proven to help improve how you feel.
Managing Traumatic Stress: Tips for Recovering From Disasters and Other Traumatic Events
The American Psychological Association offers a comprehensive list of what to expect after a disaster or other traumatic event. They also provide information on helping friends and knowing when to seek help.
Information on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from the National Institute of Mental Health
Having a strong reaction to a traumatic event is normal, however, sometimes the stress and anxiety felt after a tragedy can be a symptom of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and professional help may be needed to ease the pain.
How to Deal With Grief
Losing a friend, family member or classmate can be devastating. This fact sheet from SAMHSA will help you better understand the grieving process and the path to healing and growth.
The Road to Resilience from the American Psychological Association
Moving on after a traumatic event and overcoming your grief can be a very difficult process. This guide will help you find your own path to resilience.
You can help others by sharing your personal experiences in moving forward after a traumatic event or disaster.
Click here to share your story.
Click here to find local resources in your community or on your college campus
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