Baltimore, MD – The Maryland Psychiatric Society (MPS) expresses concern for those affected by the June 28 shootings at the Capital Gazette offices in Annapolis. As the potential mental health impact of this situation increases for our local communities, the MPS would like to offer tips and resources on how to minimize possible mental and emotional effects of trauma caused by the shootings.
We recognize that the attack may cause significant distress and pose potential threats to the mental health of all those affected both directly and indirectly. Our immediate concerns are for the safety and well-being of those affected and volunteers who are helping with this tragedy. Traumatic events affect survivors, emergency workers and the friends and relatives of victims. 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.
It is important for everyone to know that help is available, and treatment does work.
The MPS and the American Psychiatric Association offer the following recommendations for coping in the days following this traumatic event:
- Keep informed about new information and developments but avoid overexposure to news rebroadcasts of the tragedy. Be sure to use credible information sources to avoid speculation and rumors.
- 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.
For information about the MPS and additional resources, visit www.mdpsych.org.