A tragedy like the recent one at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., can leave us anxious, angry, sad and feeling helpless…among other reactions. Our Clinical Supervisor, Anne Finnegan, LISW-S, LICDC, SAP, suggests some helpful things to do when confronted with these feelings:
- Talk about your feelings with a trusted friend, but keep balance – talk about other things as well.
- Consider sending a card to the school, to the families, or to the Newtown City Hall.
- Take care of yourself by getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercise.
- Connect with people who are near and dear to you, and reinforce that connection.
- If you have strong feelings about gun legislation, the availability of mental health services, school security, or have other ideas to prevent such tragedies, contact your state and U.S. legislators.
Also, it is important for most people to limit their exposure to the media, especially TV, and especially for children. The repetitive images can increase anxiety.
If you have suffered trauma or have unresolved grief from a significant loss, you may find that you are having strong reactions to the shootings and the aftermath. Additionally, if you find you are losing sleep, are having trouble relaxing, are becoming overprotective with your children, have any changes in appetite or general functioning, it could be helpful to contact your employee assistance program (EAP) for help.