The City of Highland Park is providing numerous resources and support to anyone who was affected by the Fourth of July parade shooting. Click here to learn more.Child Mind Institute – Helping Children Cope After a Traumatic Eventhttps://childmind.org/wp-
content/uploads/2016/03/Child- Mind-Institute-Helping- Children-Cope-After-a- Traumatic-Event-2.25.2022.pdfAustralian Psychological Service – Tips for talking with and helping children and young people cope after community violenceSAMHSA – Tips for Talking With and Helping Children and Youth Cope After a Disaster or Traumatic EventNCTSN – Helping Youth to Cope with 4th of July Celebrations after a Shooting(Written about the impact of witnessing a shooting in general and how the 4th of July has loud noises and crowds and may be triggering. Helpful in understanding trauma symptoms in general and will be helpful for families as the 4th comes up next year.)Guide on how to talk to children about shooting based on ageThe JCFS Chicago Warm Line phone connection is available to provide assistance for anyone affected by the Highland Park shooting who does not have an urgent need and is looking for someone to talk to about their emotional distress. Call the warm line to connect to an emotional support professional between 9am and 5pm Monday through Thursday, 9am-4pm Fridays at 855.275.5237.
- Here is a good resource that offers a number of options in the community.
- Common Reactions After Trauma
Following a traumatic event, people typically describe feeling things like relief to be alive, followed by stress, fear, and anger. They also often find they are unable to stop thinking about what happened. Having stress reactions is what happens to most people and has nothing to do with personal weakness. Many will also exhibit high levels of arousal. For most, if the following symptoms occur, they will slowly decrease over time. Remember that most trauma survivors (including veterans, children, disaster rescue or relief workers)
experience common stress reactions. Understanding what is happening when you or someone you know reacts to a traumatic event will help you be less fearful and better able to handle things.
These reactions may last for several days or even a few weeks and may include:
Feeling hopeless about the future & detached or unconcerned about others
Having trouble concentrating, indecisiveness
Jumpy & startle easily at sudden noise
On guard and constantly alert
Having disturbing dreams/memories or flashbacks
Work or school problems
You may also experience more physical reactions such as:
Stomach upset, trouble eating
Trouble sleeping & exhaustion
Pounding heart, rapid breathing, edginess
Severe headache if thinking of the event, sweating
Failure to engage in exercise, diet, safe sex, regular health care
Excess smoking, alcohol, drugs, food
Worsening of chronic medical problems
Or have more emotional troubles such as:
Feeling nervous, helpless, fearful, sad
Feeling shock, numb, unable to experience love or joy
Avoiding people, places, and things related to the event
Being irritable or outbursts of anger
Becoming easily upset or agitated
Self-blame or negative views of oneself or the world
Distrust of others, conflict, being over controlling
Withdrawal, feeling rejected or abandoned
Loss of intimacy or feeling detached Use your personal support systems, family and friends, when you are ready to talk. Recovery is an ongoing gradual process. It doesn’t happen through suddenly being “cured” and it doesn’t mean that you will forget what happened. For most, fear, anxiety, remembering, efforts to avoid reminders, and arousal symptoms, if present, will gradually decrease over time. Most people will recover from trauma naturally. If your emotional reactions are getting in the way of your relationships, work, or other important activities you may want to talk to a counselor or your doctor. Good treatments are available.
- Common problems that can occur
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): PTSD is a condition that can develop after someone has experienced a life-threatening situation. People with PTSD often can’t stop thinking about what happened to them. They may try to avoid people and places that remind them of the trauma and may work hard to push thoughts of the even out of their head. Feeling numb is another common reactions. Finally, people find that they have trouble relaxing. They startle easily and are often on guard.
Depression: Depression involves feeling down or sad more days than not, and losing interest in activities that used to be enjoyable or fun. You may feel low in energy and be overly tired. People may feel hopelessness or despair, or feeling that things will never get better. Depression may be especially likely when a person experiences losses such as the death of close friends. This sometimes leads a depressed person to think about hurting or killing him or herself. Because of this, it is important to get help.
Self-blame, guilt and shame: Sometimes in trying to make sense of a traumatic event, people take too much responsibility for bad things that happened, for what they did or did not do, or for surviving when others didn’t. Remember, we all tend to be our own worst critics and that guilt, shame and self-blame are usually unjustified.
Suicidal thoughts: Trauma and personal loss, can lead a depressed person to think about hurting or killing themselves. If you think someone you know may be feeling suicidal, you should directly ask them. You will NOT put the idea in their head. If they have a plan to hurt themselves and the means to do it, and cannot make a contract with you to stay safe, try to get them to a counselor or call 911 immediately.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Anger or aggressive behavior: Trauma can be connected with anger in many ways. After a trauma people often feel that the situation was unfair or unjust. They can’t comprehend why the event has happened and why it has happened to them. These thoughts can result in intense anger. Although anger is a natural and healthy emotion, intense feelings of anger and aggressive behavior can cause relationship and job problems, and loss of friendships. If people become violent when angry, this can just make the situation worse as people can become injured and there may be legal consequences.
Alcohol/Drug abuse: Drinking or “self-medicating” with drugs is a common way many cope with upsetting events to numb themselves and to try to deal with the difficult thoughts, feelings, and memories related to the trauma. While this may offer a quick solution, it can actually lead to more problems. If someone close begins to lose control of drinking or drug use, it is important to assist them in getting appropriate care.
Immediately following a trauma, almost everyone will find themselves unable to stop thinking about what happened. Many will also exhibit high levels of arousal. For most, fear, anxiety, remembering, efforts to avoid reminders, and arousal symptoms, if present, will gradually decrease over time. Use your personal support systems, family and friends, when you are ready to talk. Recovery is an ongoing gradual process. It doesn’t happen through suddenly being “cured” and it doesn’t mean that you will forget what happened. But, most people will recover from trauma naturally over time. If your emotional reactions are getting in the way of your relationships, work, or other important activities you may want to talk to a counselor or your doctor. Good treatments are available.