Mental health following a mass shooting

Posted at 10:35 PM, Aug 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-06 01:39:29-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Arizona State Lawmaker Daniel Hernandez Jr. has lived it before.

"All of us remember the sights, the feelings, the tastes of what happened to us eight years ago," Hernandez recalled.

This time, it's a shooting at a Wal-Mart in El Paso.

For Hernandez it was a 'Congress on your Corner' event with then Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.

"I think the first reaction every time something like this happens is kind of like a punch in the gut," Hernandez said, "where there's not just emotional but there's like a physical reaction which is like 'not again.'"

After the weekend in El Paso this could be a time to remember to be someone's support.

"If there's no way to avoid a particular situation," mental health expert, Diane Ryan said, "like: you can't avoid going to Wal-Mart for example then you want to be prepared ahead of time and you want your friends and family to be aware."

Ryan, of Sonora Behavioral Health, says at some point we'll all be presented with something that reminds us of terrible events.

"We all are participants in them whether we're willing or not," Ryan said, "and everyone has a different way of dealing with that so I think it's important as supportive family members that we're able to monitor our own responses."

Ryan adds that a simple reassurance that 'nothing will happen' and 'everything will be fine' can actually be more harmful than good, "but you can say: i will help do whatever we need to do to be able to maintain yourself in any one of these situations and stay resilient" she said.