(This is one of 4 blog posts about this topic, please see all 4 posts for this topic to get all the information you can. I will add posts as I get information that might help).
As a therapist I have been listening to many clients this week who have friends and family who have been murdered and other people who have been hurt by this week’s Las Vegas tragedy. The victims from the Las Vegas shooting live in Long Beach, Las Vegas and many other cities and states. I have heard how the shooting/massacre has affected the direct victims as well as it is affecting the families of the victims.
As a therapist it is troubling not only because of the medical injuries but I worry for the victims, their families and all of the witnesses (who are also victims) in terms of their mental health. Witnessing a massacre is similar in a lot of ways to being in active combat in the military (except with no training and no warning that you are in a war zone). The survivors are going to have to get themselves as medically put together as they can be medically. Then the psychological trauma kicks in. Most people know of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), but might not know all the symptoms. The reasons I think it important to know all the symptoms is because often people with PTSD think they are going crazy. When I read off to them some of the symptoms, their first reaction is “so other people have this too?”, “I’m not crazy?” and I respond “Nope, you’re not crazy at all”. I explain to them that they are experiencing a normal thing for someone who went through trauma. FYI: Just so you know, the main difference between PTSD and another diagnosis called “Acute Stress Disorder” is how long the symptoms last. For the purposes of this blog post, I will be referring to it all as “PTSD” for the ease of writing.
Some of the symptoms of (PTSD) include (and you don’t need to meet many symptoms to qualify for a diagnosis): nightmares, difficulty staying asleep or falling asleep, intrusive memories of the trauma, flashbacks (sometimes triggered by something and sometimes at random times), avoidance of places that remind you of where the trauma took place (for people who experienced the Las Vegas shooting, maybe someone is avoiding crowds or being outside), inability to remember important aspects of the events, distorted thinking, loses interest in activities they used to enjoy, feeling detached from other people, not able to feel positive emotions, irritable, reckless behavior, exaggerated startle response, problems concentrating, bursts of anger, and more. People can be triggered to have PTSD symptoms in many ways. A therapist can help you to figure out your specific triggers and also how to reduce symptoms you are experiencing. Keep reading to get referrals for where to get help in Long Beach.
Please watch my youtube video about trauma at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyFTVZSAV7c
Please read my blog post “Why do people have PTSD?”
Referrals for Trauma:
If you live in Long Beach, you can contact me to set up an appointment to start working on trauma (562-310-9741). Since helping trauma victims and victims of crime, in general, is a passion of mine, I want you to know all the options you can available to you, and to know that I am not the only option. If you look through my website and feel comfortable, call me to set up an appointment.
There is a great place called the Long Beach Trauma Center which provides approximately 15 free sessions to clients. They ONLY focus on trauma, so it is a great place to get help. 562-491-7977
Also, there is “Victims of Crime” (also called “Victims Compensation”) funding which will pay for “direct victims” to receive 40 sessions of therapy from the therapist of your choice. I do accept this funding source so if you do choose to come to see me, let me know you want to pursue this option. If you go to another therapist, call 800-380-3811 (that is a government number) and they will set you up with your funding and will give you referrals to therapists in your area (or you could look on yelp or psychologytoday.com to find a therapist near you who specializes in trauma. IF YOU LIVE IN NEVADA or another state, you can call the 800 number and ask them for the victims of crime / victims compensation contact information in your state. You can also google “victims compensation” and also the name of your state. Please only go to government (.gov) sites, as there may be other sites that are fake and there to take advantage of your situation.
If it helps, they can listen to the audio (below). If it makes them feel worse, turn it off immediately. The purpose is to help them relax and hopefully be able to help them sleep at night. This is no substitute for seeing a therapist, but hopefully it can help while they find a therapist they feel comfortable with.