FEATURE – The aftermath of a mass shooting can leave all of us feeling terribly vulnerable. Even if you weren’t in Las Vegas on Sunday night, chances are you’ve wondered what you would have done, wondered if something like this might ever happen to you and wondered how something like this could even happen.
The emotional shock of something this awful can leave us feeling powerless and searching for answers.
One of the most important things we can do for our own mental and emotional health is to offer care and support to those affected. While we may be powerless to stop future tragedies, we are powerful in responding to the needs right in front of us.
There were reports of hundreds of Las Vegas citizens lining up to donate blood, people from all over the world have donated over $3 million to the relief fund for victims and medical facilities and personnel have donated their time and resources to save lives.
The darkness of this evil act has been met with the light of millions of people responding with a sincere desire to help. We still don’t have all the answers about this senseless massacre, but we do know that there are good people in the world who will step up when a crisis strikes.
You may wonder what to say to your children about the shooting. If they don’t know about it, then no need to mention it. If they ask you about it, then keep it short and simple. Recognize that it can feel scary to live in an unpredictable world. Remind them of what they can count on, such as a safe home to live in, family who loves them and other securities. Remind your children that even if tragedy strikes, they will have love and support. Show them examples of people who have responded and encourage them to offer help. Even a small child can give a little bit of money, draw a picture or offer a prayer so they know they’re making a difference.
Don’t spend a lot of time panicking about this happening to you. Carry on in your life and don’t live in fear. We suffer more from trying to control everything in our lives than we do from living our lives and responding when the unexpected happens. Trust that good people will step in and help. We are surrounded by good people everywhere who will be mobilized into action the second there is real need.
Instead of looking around wondering when tragedy will strike next, try looking around to see the good people around you who you can guarantee will be on your side if something awful were to happen. We’ve seen it recently with hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. We’ve seen it with earthquakes, wildfires and other disasters. And, we saw it again on Sunday night and throughout the past few days as people have dropped what they’re doing to offer help and support.
Stay active, involved, connected and available. We don’t need to be paralyzed by inaction and fear.
You can donate to the official GoFundMe page for the Las Vegas shooting victims here.
Geoff Steurer is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in St. George, Utah. He specializes in working with couples in all stages of their relationships. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.
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