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Overwhelming effects of mass shootings on mental health

Posted at 8:19 PM, Jul 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-05 21:20:24-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Mass shootings happening across the country can take a toll on our mental health. Experts say we don't have to experience these events directly for them to affect us.

Learning about recent mass shootings can also trigger vicarious trauma, leaving us to question if this could happen to us.

"You can never really know what's going to happen, either live in fear, stay inside or go out and still try and enjoy life," said local resident Jeremy Flores.

Simply hearing about a mass casualty can have an emotional impact. It can also affect the way we behave in public places, worrying about being a victim.

"I think I worry more about my kids in school and maybe from time to time like when we go out," said Katherine Rittenhouse.

Licensed professional counselor Baylea Wagener Cramer said it's important to be mindful of the amount of information you're taking in every day.

"It's not that you are denying what's happening, it's not that you're not acknowledging or running from it but you really kind of have to have a balance, because that can be draining and exhausting and very traumatic," said Wagener.

Flores told us it's important to remain vigilant. He's a gun activist and believes carrying a gun is a way of protecting his loved ones.

"I think people should just be prepared, I'm a gun activist so I do carry at times if I'm out with my wife and my son it is usually on me," said Flores.

Sadness, anger, and anxiety are all common emotions that we may feel following tragedies like we saw in Illinois.

"We just kind of have to do our best with how we take care of ourselves and how we approach it," said Wagener. "I'm not saying to be insensitive with it but you can't let it consume you, there's only so much we can do with it from where we're at."

While it is common to have a range of emotions following an event like a mass shooting, be aware of the warning signs that you may need extra help coping with your feelings and seek that help as needed.