The Maryland Psychiatric Society expresses our deepest sympathies to all those affected by the shootings at Great Mills High School in Southern Maryland. We share our heavy hearts and stand with those affected by this tragedy resulting in tragic loss of life, profound suffering and irretrievable sense of loss. As individuals, families and members of a common community, we need to comfort and support each other to heal our wounds. We also must do all within our power to create meaningful change that lowers the risk of these events in the future.
As the potential mental health impact of this disaster increases for our local communities, the Maryland Psychiatric Society offers tips and resources on how to minimize possible mental and emotional effects of trauma caused by the shootings.
This tragedy can have a tremendous psychological impact on all those directly and indirectly affected. It is normal to experience a wide range of mental or emotional reactions, from sadness, stress and anxiety to more severe mental illness such as post-traumatic stress disorder, ongoing anxiety disorders or depression.
Traumatic events affect survivors, emergency workers and the friends and relatives of victims who have been involved. As psychiatrists, we understand the attack may cause significant distress and pose potential threats to the mental health of all those involved. It is important for everyone to know that help is available, and treatment does work.
The Maryland Psychiatric Society and the American Psychiatric Association recommend following these steps for coping in the days following this traumatic event:
- If you feel anxious, angry or sad, you are not alone. Talk to friends, family or peers who likely are experiencing the same feelings.
- If you have contact with children, keep open dialogues with them regarding their fears of danger. Talk about your ability to cope with tragedy and get through the ordeal.
- Feelings of anxiety and sadness following a traumatic event are natural. If these symptoms continue, even after order has been restored, or if these feelings begin to overwhelm you or your child, seek the advice of a psychiatric physician or other mental health professional in your local community.
The Maryland Psychiatric Society stands ready to assist those in need by providing links to resources (information, organizations and clinicians) that can help during times of crisis. For further information, contact the Maryland Psychiatric Society at (410) 625-0232 or visit us at http://mdpsych.org/.
For additional information about mental health issues including PTSD, anxiety and depression, visit the APA’s public education website at www.psychiatry.org/mental-health and http://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/coping-after-disaster-trauma.
Maryland Psychiatric Society (MARYLAND PSYCHIATRIC SOCIETY) is the state medical organization whose physician members specialize in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental illnesses, including substance use disorders. Formed more than sixty-five years ago to support the needs of psychiatrists and their patients, MARYLAND PSYCHIATRIC SOCIETY works to ensure available, accessible and comprehensive quality mental health resources for all Maryland citizens, and strives through public education to dispel the stigma and discrimination of those suffering from a mental illness. As the District Branch of the American Psychiatric Association covering the state of Maryland excluding the D.C. suburbs, MARYLAND PSYCHIATRIC SOCIETY represents over 730 psychiatrists as well as physicians currently in psychiatric training.
The American Psychiatric Association is a national medical specialty society whose physician members specialize in diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses including substance use disorders. Visit the APA at www.psychiatry.org.find