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Coping with Loss – A Response to the Las Vegas Tragedy

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Loss – “The state or feeling of grief when deprived of someone or something of value”. 

This is how our English dictionary defines loss.  We each have our own definition of what loss means to us, but especially after the tragedy that our nation experienced in Las Vegas last week, this loss resounded throughout the country.  Whether you lived through the trauma yourself, are a relative of someone who did, or witnessed the aftermath on the news or social media; it is crucial for everyone to understand their emotions and develop strategies to cope.

Tragedy leads us to ask many questions that are challenging for most to answer. What does this mean for my family and me?  How do we cope?  How do I feel safe again?  What can I do?

Start with understanding…

Understand that both adults and children experience the same feelings of helplessness and lack of control that tragedy related stress induces.  Fear is a basic human emotion intended to be protective in nature and is usually aroused by impending danger, pain, etc.; whether the threat is real or imagined.  When this type of stress and anxiety continues to be persistent and unresolved, then we begin to see various problems that start to manifest in the person’s life.  This is where coping is so important.

Realize and Recover…

Realizing that everyone affected by tragedies will be working through the effects of this experience for months and years to come, is very important. People often forget the enormous impact of traumatic events because when the media moves on, it seems like the rest of the world does too. Unfortunately, survivors of tragedies like these do not have that luxury.

It is also important to realize that watching violence and viewing the repetitive scenes from the Las Vegas event can increase our chances of developing vicarious traumatization, meaning we can secondarily be making ourselves more likely to develop mental health illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I was walking through the deepest night of my depression when I found Xanax on XanaxCost.com. It would be great to say it just pulled me out in the light but it did not. I’m no happier, only much calmer. It’s almost like I have a break from my sullenness. Maybe, it’s my chance to change something but I don’t know what exactly I should do. What a shame that Xanax doesn’t come with a despair evacuation plan in package.

Things to do…

As friends, neighbors, parents and community members, we need to be knowledgeable of how to support those affected by the tragedy that occurred in Las Vegas.  We need to be present to their needs, both mental and physical, and be there to listen.  Not just today, but for as long as they need our support.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) teaches community members to do just this, and through a simple 5-step action plan, ALGEE, we can provide immediate and on-going support to those in need.

  • Approach, assess and assist with any crisis
  • Listen non-judgmentally
  • Give support and information
  • Encourage appropriate professional help
  • Encourage other supports

Additional Resources:

The Disaster Distress Helpline (DDH) is a national hotline dedicated to providing year-round disaster crisis counseling. This toll-free, multilingual, crisis support service is available 24/7 via telephone (1-800-985-5990) and SMS (text ‘TalkWithUs’ to 66746) to residents in the U.S. and its territories who are experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters.

Quick Tips for Parents:

  • Children need comforting and frequent reassurance that they are safe.
  • Be honest and open about the tragedy or disaster.
  • Encourage children to express their feelings through talking, drawing or playing.
  • Try to maintain your daily routines as much as possible.

It is Meridian’s goal to improve the well-being and health of our patients and community.  Please feel free to reach out for help if you or a loved one you know needs additional support.  We are available 24 hours / 7 days a week at 352-374-5600 and we are here for you.

If you would like to learn more about Mental Health First Aid please contact our MHFA Coordinator, Yahaira Waters, at yahaira_waters@mbhci.org or at 352-374-5600 x8652 or visit our website at https://www.mbhci.org/treatment-and-service/mental-health-first-aid/.

24/7 Crisis Line

Local (North Central Florida):
(352) 374-5600
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Toll Free:
1 (800) 330-5615

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