Over the past several weeks, communities across the nation have experienced incidents of violence. From Baton Rouge to Dallas, the news of these shootings has been a distressing part of daily life. In response, SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services has reached out to the affected communities offering support and behavioral health resources.
What SAMHSA is doing
SAMHSA released an announcement offering the help of our Disaster Distress Helpline for those who may be affected by the tragedies. Our web site highlights tip sheets and supportive materials for survivors. There, you will find the following guides to help during the difficult times after a traumatic event:
- Coping With Grief After Community Violence: Tips for Survivors
- Tips for Survivors of a Disaster or Other Traumatic Event: Managing Stress (En Español)
- Disaster-Specific Resources: Mass Violence
- Tips for Disaster Responders: Preventing and Managing Stress (En Español)
- How To Cope With Sheltering in Place (En Español)
To help at the community level, SAMHSA recently announced the Resiliency in Communities after Stress and Trauma Grant Program (ReCAST). The purpose of this program is to assist youth and families in communities that have recently faced civil unrest. The program involves violence prevention, youth programs, and behavioral health services. Applications for ReCAST have been received and are currently under review.
Self-care for emotional trauma
People watching the news of violent events unfold may face mental health effects. Frequent news about incidents of violence can increase anxiety, fear, grief, and a sense of helplessness. Following are some tips that can help alleviate stress and anxiety:
- Limit how much you watch the news or monitor social media. Be especially mindful of children’s exposure to news about violence.
- Know that feeling stressed, depressed, or angry is common after a violent event, even when it does not directly threaten you.
- Connect with others and talk about something other than the violence, reminding yourself of positive things going on in the world.
- Use practical ways to relax, such as listening to music, going for a walk, meditating, or praying.
- Talk to others who understand and respect how you feel.
- Get involved to help people who have experienced similar events.
- If you or someone you know is experiencing an increased level of stress or anxiety, you can speak to a trained crisis counselor at SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline. Call 1-800-985-5990 | Text “TalkWithUs” to 66746 | Web: http://disasterdistress.samhsa.gov | Facebook: /distresshelpline | Twitter: @distressline
Visit our Disaster Technical Assistance Center website for disaster behavioral health response resources for first responders and survivors.