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How Are You Coping With the Recent Mass Shootings?

By HERWriter
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are you coping with the mass shootings that happened recently? Design Pics/Thinkstock

The two mass shootings in the last couple of months have been on the minds of many Americans, especially because they took place in seemingly safe places -- a movie theater and a temple. Experts have suggestions for how the general public and victims can cope with such saddening and scary events.

Nerina Garcia-Arcement, a licensed clinical psychologist, said in an email that she previously worked with 9/11 survivors. “Unfortunately many people do not seek help for mental health problems following a trauma and most people wait an average of 10 years to seek mental help,” Garcia-Arcement said.

“A majority of my 9/11 clients sought help six to 10 years after 9/11. By this point many were isolated from all social support, had difficulties working as they avoided public transportation and public spaces, and suffered from chronic stress due to fear of the ‘next terrorist attack.’"

She hopes that victims of recent shootings get help from mental health professionals sooner in order to cope with trauma. There are a plethora of mental health issues that could result from being a victim of a shooting.

“The closer the person was to the event, the more emotionally impacted they are likely to be,” Garcia-Arcement said.

“For people directly affected by the recent shootings, it is common to experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety (including panic attacks, generalized anxiety and phobias related to the attack, such as social phobias or fear of the dark) and depression symptoms.”

“It is a normal reaction for people to re-experience or remember the event, have nightmares, feel sad and scared, be hypervigilant, avoid reminders of their trauma and isolate from people,” she added. “This is the mind trying to process and make sense of what happened.”

“Survivors of the [Colorado] shooting will find that things like the smell of popcorn, popping sounds, the dark, being in crowded spaces or watching a movies might trigger reminders of their experience,” Garcia-Arcement said.

Add a Comment2 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Better yet, why don't we cut out medications for good so this can stop the greed of profit from the drug and medical industry and not have to worry about negative side effects. What is the point of medication if there will be unknown or unacceptable side effects which defeat the purpose of help and reduce credibility of medications? I would rather there be emphasis on natural healthy foods with meditation, yoga and other physical exercise and herbs involved to heal.

May 12, 2013 - 12:23am
EmpowHER Guest

Let's find out which psychiatric meds the shooters were on first before advising the public to get similar meds. This will dramatically cut down the number of future crazed rampages.

August 10, 2012 - 5:28am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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