Home / US / Suicide bombings in Parkland illustrate the long-term psychological effects of mass shootings

Suicide bombings in Parkland illustrate the long-term psychological effects of mass shootings

The events show the long-term effect of shooting at school.

"Parkland survivors have been heroes since the tragedy, but the death of these students is a sobering reminder that they are not only young advocates, but victims of traumas and survivors of violence," said Micheal Anestis, more extraordinary Professor of Psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi and co-chair of the American Association of Suicidology.

The National Center for PTSD estimates that 28% of people who have experienced mass shootings develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and about one-third develop acute stress disorder.

Michael Havel, executive director of Safe Havens International, points out that it was between the attack on Columbine High School and a series of suicides involving former students, as well as between family members of the victims who were killed in the attack Even though the pattern was seen, it is difficult to attribute it solely to mass shooting.

Despite the statistics and the discouraging recent events, surviving a mass shooting does not mean that children, adolescents, and communities are permanently damaged. David Schonfeld, Director of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement and Pediatrician at Children Hospital Los Angeles.

Recovery, according to Schönfeld, should be the expectation and the common goal to be achieved. It begins with the understanding that the worldviews of the communities have been called into question.

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Children who have experienced mass shootings, as well as children in communities nearby and in the area away, can experience what Schönfeld calls the loss of the supposed world when he learns of the events.

"There are certain assumptions that people make every day in order to feel safe in a world of many dangers," he said. When a child hears or experiences an event that calls into question the concept of safety in a school, it makes all other assumptions about the world question, added Schönfeld.

The loss of the supposed world, in addition to the actual trauma, can trigger a cascade of events.

Immediately after a traumatic event, according to Schonfeld, children and adolescents may have difficulty concentrating and sleeping. This, in turn, can lead to a deterioration in school performance, which means that children and adolescents for the first time suffer a school failure. This can cause additional stress and lead to a certain irritability.

The irritability can then lead to an impairment of social interactions, which makes people more suspicious and less trusting, he added, with years of feedback.

The second year may be tougher

Schonfeld explained that the consequences of surviving a mass shot or similar traumatic effect should be considered in terms of mourning and trauma.

For those who have lost a loved one, mourning can last for years, and people continue to incite those losses as they move forward in their lives, he said.

"Then there is a trauma when you get involved in an event that threatens your life," he added.

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Both mourning and trauma can be long-term, and sometimes the second year can be more difficult than the first.

"In the first year, there is a lot more support, which is generally provided by friends and families, and the expectation is that the first Thanksgiving holiday can be very difficult, with families and friends gathering together and expectations are satisfied sometimes lower. "I just want to go through my first Christmas," said Schönfeld.

The loss will then remain in the second year, but the support system may not be as strong, making it difficult to manage the time.

Faced with an election, survivors may choose to feel guilty for feeling powerless.

Guilty feelings are extremely common after the death of a loved one or after a crisis event, with people trying to point this out Schoenfeld explained that what they showed was wrong, at least on a subconscious level, survivors try to get out to find out what they did wrong.

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"If you can tell yourself," I would only have been there or if only I had been more cautious or if I had just did something or not what I did. & # 39; This gives you the illusion that you can control future events simply by not making the mistake again. "The alternative is to understand that you had no role in it. They could not prevent it. Therefore, you can not prevent it from happening again, "he added.

Despite the guilt, loss of control and potential consequences, recovery is possible and should be the goal.

The expectation is recovery, not activism.

"You want to set the expectation for recovery while providing sufficient support for this recovery and having a backup so that those who have difficulty do even more support and support. "

Some people experience post-traumatic growth after events such as mass shootings, find a renewed sense or a greater sense of spirituality, but that should never be the expectation," said Schonfeld.

"We Have Skills and Strategies [to help children and teens] as we do with adults, "he said," we need to make them accessible to the general public and encourage people to take advantage of them. "

What Parents Can Do

" This is a time to spend more time with your family to keep you closer to you, "said Schönfeld, recommending that the children ask what they have heard, how they feel, and how we can help them as adults. to deal with their feelings.

This is no time to tell children or young people that they should not be worried or give a false sense of security, but rather to protect their feelings To confirm this and share concerns with them, he added.

Jonathan Singer, family therapist and adjunct professor at Loyola University's Chicago School of Social Work, recommends slowing down and spending more time with children and adolescents. Simply being there can provide a window of conversation and help parents prepare for their children not being able to cope well.

These signs include drastic changes in behavior or mood, sleep and appetite disturbances, and any expression of hopelessness, he added.

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