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Parkland's suicide death highlights the long-term psychological effects of mass shooting



The events highlight the long-term effect of living through school shots.

"The survivors in Parkland have been heroes in their efforts after the tragedy, but the death of these students is a sober reminder that they are not only young advocates, but also trauma victims and loss of survivors," said Micheal Anestis, 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 witnessed a mass shooter develop post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, and about one-third develop acute stress disorder.

Michael Dorn, managing director of Safe Harbor International, points out that there were also patterns between the attack at Columbine High School and a number of suicides involving former students, as well as family members of victims who were killed in the attack and added that even if the pattern seen, it is challenging to just enter it for mass photography.

Despite the statistics and the disappointing recent events, survival of mass photography does not mean children, teens, and communities permanently injured, Dr. David Schonfeld, head of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement, and a pediatrician at the Children's Hospital Los Angeles explained.

Recovery, Schonfeld insists, should be the expectation and the common goal to achieve. It begins by understanding that the societal world prospects have been challenged.

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Children who have lived through mass shootings, as well as children in communities nearby and far away, can experience what Schonfeld calls the loss of the assuming world when he learns about the events.

"There are some assumptions that people make every day that allow them to feel secure in a world that has many dangers in it," he said. When a child hears or lives through an event that challenges the concept of security in a school, it causes them to ask any other assumptions they have about the world, Schonfeld added.

The loss of the assuming world, on top of the actual trauma, can determine a cascade of events.

Immediately after a traumatic event, Schonfeld explained that children and teenagers may find it difficult to concentrate and sleep. This, in turn, can lead to a reduction in academic achievement, which means that children and teenagers experience academic failure for the first time. This can cause additional distress and lead to some irritability.

Irritability can then lead to worsening social interactions, making people more suspicious and less confident, he added, with repercussions for years.

The second year may be harder

Schonfeld explained that the aftermath of surviving a mass shooting or similar traumatic effect should be taken into account when it comes to grief and trauma.

For those who lost a loved one, grief can continue for years, with people continuing to work up their lost when they move forward in their lives, he said.

"Then there is a trauma to be involved in an event where a threat to your life," he added.

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

"In the first year there is much more support given generally by friends and families. There is expectation that the first thanksgiving, the first holiday, can be very difficult. Families and friends gather and expectations are sometimes lower." I just want to do it through my first Christmas, "Schonfeld said.

The loss continues since the second year, but the support system may not be as strong, resulting in a more difficult time management.

Given choice, survivors can choose To feel guilty of feeling powerless

Debt is extremely common after a death of a love or after a crisis situation, with people trying to point out what they did wrong, Schonfeld explained, at least at an unconscious level survivors can try find what they did wrong.

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"If you can tell yourself, "if I had just been there or if I had just been more careful or if I had just done something or not done what I did. "It gives you the illusion that you can control future events simply by not making that mistake again," says Schonfeld. The alternative is to understand that you had no role in this. You could not stop it. from happening again, he added.

Despite the debt, the loss of control and potential repercussions, recovery is possible and should be the goal.

Expectation is recovery, not activism

"You want to set the expectation of recovery while providing enough support to promote this recovery and to have a backup so that if individuals struggle, we provide them even more support and help. "

Some individuals experience what is called post-traumatic growth after events such as mass shooting, finding a renewed sense of purpose or a greater sense of spirituality. But that should never be anticipated," Schonfeld said.

"We have skills and strategies [to help children and teens] as we do with adults, "he said." We need to make them available and encourage people to exploit. "

What parents can do

" This is a time to spend more time with your family, to keep them closer to you, says Schonfeld. He recommends asking the children what they have heard, how they feel and how we as adults can help them cope with their feelings.

This is no time to tell children or teenagers that they do not have to worry or give a false sense of security, but rather to validate their feelings and share concerns with them, he added.

Jonathan Singer, family therapist and associate professor at Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work, also recommends slowing down and spending more time with children and teenagers. Being just present can provide a conversation window and can help parents be tailored to show that their children are not doing well.

These signs include drastic changes in behavior or mood, sleep and appetite disorders, as well as some expression of a sense of hopelessness, he added.


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