Coping in the aftermath of community violence self-care strategies dvbic signs of concussion in babies

Following the recent shooting that took the lives of three dedicated mental health employees at the Veterans Home of California-Yountville, military communities throughout the country may be struggling to understand how and why such a tragedy could have transpired at a counseling center for veterans. Watching the event play out on the news and hearing about it repeatedly may have produced anxiety, raised fears, and even challenged individuals’ assumptions about their communities and the safety of their workplaces.

Community violence often occurs without warning and not only impacts the survivors of the incident, but it can also trigger strong adverse reactions in individuals far removed from the event. Friends, family members, and colleagues may experience emotional distress, display depression symptoms, and some may even show PTSD-like symptoms.

Traumatic events may cause an individual to avoid situations that remind them of the incident, develop negative feelings and beliefs, and experience nervousness and other negative reactions such as:

These signs and symptoms can present within hours or days following an incident or may take as long as weeks to months after the initial act of violence occurred. Emotional recovery may be quick for some, but it may take longer for others and require additional help and support.

If you’ve been impacted by community violence, take care of yourself by practicing healthy coping strategies in order to prevent normal, though challenging, reactions from progressing into mental health concerns. To aid in emotional recovery and to help restore a sense of well-being and safety, consider applying these self-care strategies:

• Talk to others: Reach out to your support system. Talk about the event and your reaction to it if you want to, though the most important thing is to spend time with friends and family and stay connected to other people. The compassion and support you receive from those who care about you helps to maintain a sense of well-being.

• Balance your perspective: Distressing events can leave you with a negative outlook towards the world around you. Take some time to think about the positive moments, events, and people in your life. Doing so can help counteract negative thinking and balance your perspective.

• Get some sleep: Lack of sleep can have an adverse effect on your physical and mental well-being even when life is going well. Aim to keep a sleep schedule that will provide you with an adequate amount of sleep every night. Limit screen time and create a soothing environment. Keep electronics away from your bedroom and create a cool, dark, and clean atmosphere. If you experience sleeplessness, try applying some relaxation techniques.

• Practice relaxation: Taking deep breathes, listening to soothing music, or meditating can reduce your stress and anxiety, and promote relaxation. You can even try active relaxation techniques, such as taking a walk, stretching, or practicing yoga.

• Engage in physical activity: Make exercise part of your lifestyle. A regular fitness routine not only builds your physical resilience and strength, but it can also burn away stress hormones and promote the release of endorphins that make you feel good.

• Do something positive and meaningful: Try to schedule an activity that you look forward to each day or find ways that you can help in your community. Volunteering and helping those in need is an excellent way of making a positive difference and will help you feel better too.

If you’re experiencing emotional distress related to community violence, you can contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 for support and counseling. You can also explore the various resources below.

Psychological Health Resource Center: A 24/7 free source of psychological health information for service members, veterans and military family members from professional consultants who understand military culture. The center provides customized responses to your specific questions, needs, and concerns.

Marine Corps Community Counseling Program (CCP): Provides confidential counseling, and connects Marines and families with additional resources through referrals. Assists in navigating the many support resources available to meet individualized Marine and family needs.

PTSD Family Coach: Designed for family members of those who living with PTSD. The app provides extensive information about PTSD, how to take care of yourself, how to take care of your relationship with your loved one or with children, and how to help your loved one get treatment.