Newtown shooting: First responders must be prepared for the rollercoaster of emotions
Impact on First Responders…“Unfortunately, these senseless and tragic shootings will continue to happen around the country. One of the aspects that doesn’t often get discussed (certainly not in the mainstream media, anyway), is the impact these violent incidents have on law enforcement and first responders.”
The hearts of all Americans and peoples around the globe are broken today! All we can think about are the children who lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary; and the adults who died as well, who dedicated their lives to ensuring that kids are not only safe, but grow into healthy, happy, and productive youngsters.
We should also be reminded of the brave work of the 1st responders who protect us each day and save lives. They arrive to a crime scene or a site of an accident and see things none of us rarely see, and must live and cope with the thoughts that linger while doing the heroic work on behalf of the public they serve. The public servants, 1st responders, are your neighbors with their own families who go to work each day living and coping with trauma connected with protecting the public. They need our support while they do the complex and meticulous work of securing and investigating a crime scene as in Sandy Hook Elementary, Newtown, CT.
One other challenge we face is the continued problem of “stigma” connected to mental disorders, which often become part of the news story in these circumstances. The quote below from a mental health professional who knows well the implications of trauma, best describes what we should think about right now. Curing and fixing the stigma of mental health conditions is one of America’s greatest challenges in making sure those who suffer from the symptoms of moral injury and PTSD seek treatment sooner rather than later… Many hesitate, and families become secretive, and those in positions of authority fear the delicate discussion. We often end up avoiding this important topic in our daily lives and put ourselves at risk of the consequences of someone affected reaching a breaking point and snapping or acting out with violence.
“Not everyone who owns a gun commits atrocities and not all atrocities are committed by guns. Not all people with mental illness commit atrocities and not all atrocities are committed by people with mental illness. Be extremely mindful of what you say and choose to believe & exercise critical thinking along with evidence-based research.”