A Message From CAMFT in Response to the Recent Shootings Following the tragic shootings in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton, many people may not be sure how to process their feelings, whether directly impacted or not, and may also feel a need to do something to help. It is common to experience a level of anxiety because these actions can feel personal. It is easy to relate to attending a family friendly festival, like the Gilroy Garlic Festival, or enjoying a night out, as was the case in Dayton, or simply running errands at Walmart, similar to the incident in El Paso. It is also common to want to help, but not be sure where to start. You may also have children who are aware of recent events, but unsure how to process those feelings. Below are ways to respond when these feelings arise. If you encounter feelings of anxiety and sadness, remember that the actions of a few should not stop you from living. Still, don’t push aside these feelings. Acknowledge them and ask friends and family for support, talk to a therapist, and establish positive routines. You can read more tips about how to respond to trauma here ( https://www.counselingcalifornia.com/mental-health-matters/Trauma/Disasters ) Sometimes you may have a feeling that you want to do something to help, and do something to make a change, even if you are not be directly connected to the event. Even so, you can still make an impact. Contact a local Red Cross or Direct Relief International to see how you can volunteer and lend support. You may also have children who have heard about the latest series of shootings. It is important to communicate openly with them. In doing so, plan how you want to discuss their emotions and find useful ways to express their concern. You can encourage them to work with their friends and classmates to organize a letter drive to send encouraging words to families of victims, or you can suggest having a lemonade stand, to raise money for families affected by the tragedy. When these tragedies occur, it is important to acknowledge your feelings and know that these feelings matter. The American Psychological Association has more information on how to manage distress after a mass shooting: https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/mass-shooting or you can visit www.counselingcalifornia.com to find a Marriage and Family therapist who can help.