Psychological First Aid Needed For Las Vegas Shooting Survivors
The deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history happened just a few weeks ago on October 1st, where a 64-year-old man named, Stephen Paddock, fired a semi-automatic rifles with modified bump-stock attachment from his room in the Mandalay Bay hotel. He shot about 22,000 people who are at that time attending a concert at the Route 91 Harvest, which is country musical festival being held on the Las Vegas Strip. According to the official statement released by the authorities, there were 58 people who died, during the devastating incident, including the mass murderer himself, while more than 500 people were injured. This is considered to be the deadliest mass shooting committed by a single person in the United States, a similar incident happened just last year in Orlando, where 49 people died.
This devastating incident opened up debates regarding the gun laws in the country, but there is actually another matter than needs to looked at immediately. Hundreds of people were physically harmed but they will eventually heal, however, the trauma that they got from the incident is something that they will carry as long as they live, which means that the risks f severe post-traumatic stress disorder.
WOUNDS THAT MIGHT NEVER HEAL
People usually say that every wound and every scar carries a story behind them, but what if these stories are something that you never ever want to remember. According to the PTSD United, which is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to provide resources for people who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. Their recent statistics said that 20 percent of the 223.4 million people are most likely to develop PTSD, and as of today, there are approximately 44.7 million people who are actually suffering with PTSD.
A SAFE PLACE MUST BE FOUND
The author of Mental Health Emergencies: A Guide to Recognizing and Handling Mental Health Crises, Michele Hart says that the most common thing that she notices whenever an incident like this happens is re-traumatization. “If anyone has been experiencing trauma of any kind, it is going to start resurfacing.”
People should be given a place and time where they could cry and express their emotions as well as to actually process everything that happened without them feeling unsafe and scared. Hart also said that therapy wouldn’t really help at this stage yet, especially for those who were traumatized by the Mandalay Bay incident a few weeks ago. “It should be open for a week. Most of the people will get to go home, but the staff has to keep coming back,” Hart referring to the Mandalay Bay crisis center.
PSYCHOLOGICAL FIRST AID
According to Dr. Lata K. McGinn, a clinical psychologist from Cognitive and Behavioral Consultants believes that psychological first aid must be implemented in addition to medical first aid in a trauma situation. “The damage of a mass violent event goes beyond the individuals who died, and the individuals with injuries,” McGinn said in an interview. “I felt so much pain for the people who were going to suffer from it, the people who died, and the people who have to cope with this tragedy, the families and friends too.”
TREATMENT FOR PTSD
There are actually a lot of types of medications, such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs that can all be used to treat some symptoms of PTSD.
Psychotherapy or also known as ‘talk therapy’ may also be used for both adults and children who may be suffering from PTSD. Here are some types of psychotherapy that can be used:
• Exposure Therapy
This type of psychotherapy may help you safely face both situations as well as memories that you may find frightening so that you may learn how to face these things and cope with them. This therapy is best for people who are having flashback nightmares.
• Cognitive Therapy
This next type of therapy is actually a common one wherein it would help you come to terms with everything and recognize your way of thinking that may be keeping you stuck from all the horrific memories.
• Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
The EMDR or the Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a talk therapy that combines exposure therapy with a series of guided eye movements that can actually help you process traumatic memories by changing how you react to them.
A lot of psychologists are urging the government as well as nonprofit organization to come together for those people who are suffering from PTSD, especially after what happened this month. The survivors from the drastic incident must be able to live their lives again and move on from their horrifying memories that may haunt them for the rest of their lives.
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