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Children & Grief Critical Incidents Death in Workplace Grief Life Transitions Loss Uncategorized

Grieving After a Suicide; It’s Not the Same

Grief is a natural and complex emotional response to loss. Losing a loved one to suicide is a unique and devastating experience that can have a profound impact on those left behind. The grief that follows a suicide is different from other types of grief in several ways.

One of the primary differences is the stigma and shame that can be associated with suicide. Many people who have lost a loved one to suicide may feel a sense of guilt or responsibility, even if they had no direct involvement in the suicide. This can lead to feelings of shame and isolation, as well as a reluctance to talk about the suicide or seek support.

Another difference is the sudden and unexpected nature of suicide. Unlike other types of loss, such as a long illness or old age, suicide can happen without warning. This can leave loved ones feeling shocked and traumatized, struggling to make sense of what has happened.

The circumstances surrounding a suicide can also complicate the grieving process. For example, if the suicide was the result of a mental health condition, loved ones may struggle with feelings of anger or frustration that the person did not receive the help they needed. Additionally, if the suicide was the result of external factors, such as bullying or abuse, loved ones may struggle with feelings of injustice or a desire for revenge.

The grieving process after a suicide can be long and difficult, and it is important for loved ones to seek support and care. This may include therapy, support groups, or other forms of counseling. It is also important for loved ones to take care of themselves, both physically and emotionally, as they navigate the complex emotions and challenges that come with grieving a suicide.

In summary, grief after a suicide is different from other types of grief in several ways. The stigma and shame associated with suicide, the sudden and unexpected nature of the loss, and the circumstances surrounding the suicide can all complicate the grieving process. It is important for loved ones to seek support and care as they navigate the complex emotions and challenges that come with grieving a suicide.

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Addiction Recovery Anxiety & Stress Body & Neuro Brain Cancer & Medical Cancer Resilience Children & Grief Critical Incidents Death in Workplace Executive Social Intelligence First Responders Grief Life Transitions Loss Organ Transplant Pre & Post Surgical Terminal Illness Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Uncategorized Voir Dire Consultation

Ben Carrettin: Next Level Behavioral Health and Leadership Acumen

In the bustling city of Houston, Texas, one name stands out among the rest in the field of behavioral health and leadership consulting: Ben Carrettin. With over two decades of dedicated service, Ben holds two national board-certifications, is professionally licensed and has several other certifications as well. He is renowned for his expertise in helping individuals navigate the most complex and challenging aspects of life. His diverse range of clinical specialties, leadership experience and cross-cultural training has made him a trusted resource for people; personally, professionally and abroad.

A Journey of Compassion and Dedication

Ben Carrettin‘s journey into the world of behavioral health and leadership consulting began over 20 years ago, and since then, he has made a lasting impact on countless lives. His passion for helping people emerged as he embarked on a mission to provide guidance and support to those facing some of life’s most profound challenges.

Specializing in Healing and Resilience

One of Ben’s primary areas of specialization is working with individuals in recovery from addiction. His empathetic and evidence-based approach has helped many individuals find their path to sobriety, offering them hope and a chance at a brighter future. But Ben’s expertise doesn’t stop there.

He is also well-known for his work with those experiencing complicated grief and loss. Grief is a uniquely complex emotion, and Ben’s compassionate guidance helps people navigate the intricate web of emotions that accompany it. He provides strategies for healing and moving forward while honoring the memory of lost loved ones.

A Beacon of Support for Trauma Survivors

Traumatic events can leave lasting scars on an individual’s emotional life. Ben Carrettin has dedicated a significant portion of his career to working with survivors of traumatic events, offering a lifeline to those who have faced unimaginable challenges. In addition to assisting trauma survivors in his private practice, Ben has responded to many critical incidents in the field as a CISD, assisting survivors, volunteers and first responders. Whether personal or large scale, natural or a man made disaster, Ben’s knowledge, skills and unwavering support empowers survivors to rebuild their lives and find strength within themselves.

A Ray of Hope for Cancer and Organ Transplant Patients

Facing a cancer diagnosis or the prospect of an organ transplant can be an incredibly daunting experience. Ben’s work with cancer and organ transplant patients is a testament to his commitment to helping individuals and their families navigate these challenging journeys. He provides emotional support, coping strategies, and a sense of hope to those grappling with life-altering medical conditions.

Supporting Those Who Serve and Lead

In addition to his work with individuals facing personal challenges, Ben Carrettin also extends his expertise to support those who serve the community. He works closely with police officers, fire and rescue personnel, as well as various clergy and public figures. His leadership consulting services equip these professionals with the tools and strategies needed to navigate high-stress situations and lead with resilience.

International Diversity and Cross Cultural Adjustment

Professionals and their families who move to the US from other countries face a host of challenges and adjustments. The transitions they experience moving from one culture into another are complex and multifaceted. Ben has intensive, cross-cultural training and professional experience assisting individuals and families through these challenges and changes. He also works virtually with US professionals who are working abroad.

Executive Social Intelligence and Public Speaking for Leaders

Executive Social Intelligence coaching, or ESI, helps leaders strategically engage their colleagues and employees and better understand how to maneuver large scale events in the workplace such as downsizing, mergers, international expansion, leadership and structural changes and other organizational development challenges. Through this method, Ben also assists leaders in maximizing their intended message and goal when speaking whether internally or publicly.

Jury and Behavioral Consultant

In more recent years, Ben has been hired on several occasions for more specialized and out-of-the-box projects including assisting legal teams in preparing for and selecting jurors during voir dire and with business leaders seeking to assess the effectiveness and reliability of employee engagement patterns of key managers and directors during top leadership changes.

The Impact of Ben Carrettin

Ben Carrettin’s impact on the Houston community and beyond is immeasurable. His dedication to the well-being of individuals and the growth of leaders has transformed personal lives and professional organizations. His compassionate approach, combined with his extensive experience, has earned him a well-deserved reputation as a leading behavioral health professional and leadership consultant.

As Houston, Texas continues to evolve, Ben Carrettin remains a steadfast pillar of support for those in need. His work embodies the spirit of empathy, resilience, and transformation, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of all those he touches. Whether you’re on the path to recovery, dealing with loss, facing trauma, or seeking to enhance your leadership skills, Ben Carrettin is a name you can trust to guide you towards a brighter future.

(Originally presented as an introduction for Ben at a privately contracted Critical Incident response service to employees at the local office of a Texas-based company in Spring of 2017).

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Addiction Recovery Anxiety & Stress Children & Grief Life Transitions Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Uncategorized

Where Attachment Theory Fails

Attachment theory is a widely accepted psychological theory that explains how early childhood experiences shape an individual’s ability to form and maintain relationships throughout their life. The theory suggests that the quality of the attachment bond between a child and their primary caregiver has a significant impact on the child’s emotional and social development. While attachment theory has been influential in the field of behavioral health, it is not without its failings. In this essay, we will explore some of the failings of attachment theory in behavioral health.

One of the primary failings of attachment theory is its narrow focus on the mother-child relationship. Attachment theory was developed based on observations of mother-infant interactions, and as such, it places a significant emphasis on the mother’s role in the child’s development. This narrow focus ignores the role of other caregivers, such as fathers, grandparents, and other family members, in shaping a child’s attachment style. It also fails to account for the impact of cultural and societal factors on attachment formation.

Another failing of attachment theory is its assumption that attachment styles are stable and unchanging throughout an individual’s life. While attachment styles are relatively stable, they are not fixed and can be influenced by life experiences and relationships. Attachment theory also fails to account for the impact of therapy and other interventions on attachment styles. Research has shown that therapy can help individuals develop more secure attachment styles, which challenges the idea that attachment styles are fixed.

Attachment theory also fails to account for the impact of trauma on attachment formation. Trauma can disrupt the attachment bond between a child and their primary caregiver, leading to the development of insecure attachment styles. Attachment theory does not provide a clear framework for understanding how trauma impacts attachment formation or how to address attachment issues in individuals who have experienced trauma.

Finally, attachment theory has been criticized for its lack of diversity. The theory was developed based on observations of middle-class, white families, and as such, it may not be applicable to individuals from different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. Attachment theory also fails to account for the impact of systemic oppression and discrimination on attachment formation and relationships.

In conclusion, while attachment theory has been influential in the field of behavioral health, it is not without its failings. The theory’s narrow focus on the mother-child relationship, assumption of stable attachment styles, lack of attention to trauma, and lack of diversity are all areas where the theory falls short. It is important for clinicians and researchers to recognize these failings and work towards developing a more comprehensive understanding of attachment formation and its impact on mental health.

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Anxiety & Stress Children & Grief Grief Life Transitions Loss Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Uncategorized

The Impact of Childhood Trauma on Adult Relationships

Childhood trauma can have a profound impact on an individual’s life, particularly when it comes to forming and maintaining relationships as an adult. The effects of childhood trauma can manifest in a variety of ways, including difficulty with trust, emotional regulation, and communication. These challenges can make it difficult for individuals to form healthy and fulfilling relationships, and can lead to a range of negative outcomes, including social isolation, depression, and anxiety.

One of the primary challenges that adults who experienced childhood trauma face is difficulty with trust. Childhood trauma can lead to a deep-seated sense of mistrust, particularly when it comes to forming close relationships with others. This can manifest in a variety of ways, including difficulty opening up to others, fear of abandonment, and a tendency to push people away. These behaviors can make it difficult for individuals to form close relationships, and can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Another challenge that adults who experienced childhood trauma face is difficulty with emotional regulation. Childhood trauma can lead to a range of emotional dysregulation, including anxiety, depression, and anger. These emotions can be difficult to manage, particularly in the context of close relationships. Individuals who struggle with emotional dysregulation may find themselves lashing out at loved ones, withdrawing from social situations, or engaging in self-destructive behaviors. These behaviors can strain relationships and make it difficult to form lasting connections with others.

Finally, adults who experienced childhood trauma may struggle with communication. Childhood trauma can lead to a range of communication challenges, including difficulty expressing emotions, a tendency to avoid conflict, and a lack of assertiveness. These communication challenges can make it difficult for individuals to express their needs and desires in relationships, and can lead to misunderstandings and conflict. Additionally, individuals who struggle with communication may find it difficult to form close connections with others, as they may struggle to express themselves in a way that feels authentic and genuine.

In conclusion, adults who experienced childhood trauma face a range of challenges when it comes to forming and maintaining relationships. These challenges can manifest in a variety of ways, including difficulty with trust, emotional regulation, and communication. While these challenges can be difficult to overcome, there are a range of strategies that individuals can use to improve their relationships, including therapy, mindfulness practices, and communication skills training. With the right support and resources, individuals who have experienced such trauma can form healthy and fulfilling relationships, and can lead happy and fulfilling lives.

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Anxiety & Stress Children & Grief Grief Life Transitions Uncategorized

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is a serious mental health condition that affects many women after giving birth. It is a type of depression that occurs within the first year after childbirth and can have a significant impact on a woman’s ability to care for herself and her baby. The symptoms and signs of can vary from person to person, but there are some common indicators that women and their loved ones should be aware of.

Hopelessness and Sadness

One of the most common symptoms is a persistent feeling of sadness or hopelessness. Women with postpartum depression may feel overwhelmed, anxious, or irritable, and they may have difficulty sleeping or eating. They may also experience feelings of guilt or worthlessness, and they may have trouble bonding with their baby.

Another common symptom is a loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable. Women with postpartum depression may withdraw from social activities, hobbies, or work, and they may have difficulty concentrating or making decisions. They may also experience physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, or fatigue.

Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors

In some cases, postpartum depression can lead to more severe symptoms such as suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Women who experience these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.

It is important to note that postpartum depression is not a sign of weakness or a character flaw. It is a medical condition that can be treated with a combination of therapy, medication, and support from loved ones. Women who are experiencing these symptoms of should talk to their healthcare provider as soon as possible to get the help they need.

In conclusion, postpartum depression is a serious mental health condition that can have a significant impact on a woman’s life. The symptoms and signs of postpartum depression can vary, but common indicators include persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness, loss of interest in activities, and physical symptoms such as headaches or fatigue. Women who are experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention and support from loved ones to help them recover and care for themselves and their baby.

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Children & Grief Critical Incidents Death in Workplace First Responders Grief Life Transitions Loss Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress

The Traumatic Impact of a School Shooting

The traumatic impact of a school shooting is likely to continue long after the initial crisis has ended. School shootings have become a tragic reality in the United States, with numerous incidents occurring in recent years. These events have a profound psychological impact on children and communities, leaving lasting scars that can affect individuals for years to come. This essay will briefly explore the psychological impact of school shootings on children and communities, including the effects on mental health, social relationships, and overall well-being.

One of the most significant impacts of school shootings is on the mental health of children and communities. Children who witness or experience a school shooting may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. These conditions can manifest in a variety of ways, including nightmares, flashbacks, and avoidance behaviors. Additionally, communities may experience a sense of collective trauma, leading to increased rates of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.


School shootings can also have a significant impact on social relationships. Children who experience a school shooting may struggle to form and maintain relationships with peers and adults. They may feel isolated and disconnected from others, leading to feelings of loneliness and social withdrawal. Additionally, communities may experience a breakdown in social cohesion, with individuals feeling a sense of distrust and fear towards others – something that effects the children and community for years to come.

The overall well-being of children and communities can also be deeply affected by a school shooting. Children who experience a school shooting may struggle with academic performance, attendance, and engagement in school. They may also experience physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, and fatigue. Communities may experience a decline in economic and social well-being, with businesses and residents leaving the area due to safety concerns.

In summary, school shootings have a profound psychological impact on children and communities. The effects can be long-lasting and far-reaching, affecting mental health, social relationships, and overall well-being. It is essential for individuals and communities to come together to support those affected by school shootings and work towards preventing future incidents. This can include providing mental health services, promoting social cohesion, and advocating for gun control measures. By taking action, we can help mitigate the psychological impact of school shootings and create safer, healthier communities for all.

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Children & Grief Grief Life Transitions Loss Terminal Illness Uncategorized

Managing the Emotions of Terminal Illness

How Do I Manage The Emotions of My Terminal Illness?

Being informed you have either a chronic, or terminal illness is news nobody ever expects to hear. So, what happens when you’re suddenly faced with this life-altering information and you have to start managing the emotions of terminal illness?

Diagnosis of a terminal illness brings about a wide variety of emotions – whether you’re hit with them immediately, or you take some time to process them. Your priorities are suddenly shifted, and the amount of challenges you now face has doubled. 

However, hope certainly exists – even in the face of a terminal illness. 

While it might not seem possible, or even easy, keeping a positive  attitude and practicing peace can not only increase your quality of life in the time you have left, but can actually make the entire process easier for both you and your loved ones. 

So, how is this done? How can you practice hope and self-compassion while remaining self-aware during a serious medical diagnosis? Let’s talk about it. 

Your Emotions Post Diagnosis:

If you’ve just been told you have either a terminal illness or a chronic one, you may be surprised at the way you’re feeling. Some individuals are suddenly bombarded with hysteria, depression, and an overflow of tears. Some, on the other hand, feel quite ‘matter of fact’ about death and dying, to their own surprise. 

No matter how you’re handling the news, understand that each person’s journey is unique and there is no right or wrong way to feel

A few emotions you may be going through include:

  • Anger
  • Shock
  • Resentment 
  • Fear
  • Sadness
  • Denial 
  • Frustration 
  • Hopelessness
  • Relief
  • Acceptance

As time passes you may find you go through waves of different emotions. While at first, you may have felt in denial, after a few months you might come to accept what’s happening. 

Most people, unless they have an extremely high level of emotional regulation, will be unable to take it all in right away. Hearing you have a terminal illness can be quite surreal, so it’s important to show yourself love and accept the emotions you’re feeling no matter what they are. 

How To Cope With Your Emotions During a Terminal Illness:

Knowing that death is near can take a massive toll on your mental health, as well as your loved ones. This is why it’s incredibly important to learn how to cope with these emotions in order to make the time you have a positive experience. 

Healthily managing your emotions has been proven to influence acceptance levels, increase communication with loved ones, and create a balance of hope and honesty during an extremely difficult process. 

Here are a few ways to cope with the emotions of a terminal illness:

Educate Yourself On Fear:

While almost everyone is afraid of death it can help to pinpoint exactly what part of death you’re afraid of most. Do you wonder if it will hurt? Are you struggling with the unknown of what comes after? Is it the impact on your loved ones after you pass? Or perhaps it’s something else completely? For some of us it is physical, for some it is spiritual and for some it can rest in logistics or relationships or something entirely different.

Empowering yourself with education on exactly what you’re afraid of can help manage it. Fear can drive emotions such as depression, anxiety, and helplessness so taking time to face it head-on can diffuse such powerful feelings. 

Channel Your Anger:

It’s quite rare someone ever feels ‘ready to die. However, these feelings of resentment and anger toward our situation can lead us to take our negative emotions out on those closest to us. 

A terminal illness is unfair – and your feelings are completely valid! However, it’s not in your own best interest – or the interest of your loved ones – to spend your days angry at them. Try and find an outlet to release your anger directed at your disease, rather than at anyone person or thing in particular. 

Tackle Guilt and Regret as Quickly as Possible:

It’s very normal for a person nearing the end of life to feel immense regret about things they did or did not do. You may feel like you should have made different choices, said something you should have said, or taken a risk you should have taken. 

While this is common to feel, guilt and regret changes nothing. It’s unhelpful to think about the would have / should haves unless you have a time machine. 

Worrying about your past won’t relieve your burdens, in fact, it may make them much stronger. In this particular instance, it’s extremely helpful to allow yourself a ‘free pass. Guilt and shame have no place in your end-of-life care, and it must stay that way. 

Nurture Your Grief:

One of the scariest emotions you may be feeling is the immense grief that comes along with a terminal illness. You may be grieving the loss of a life you had planned, grieving your children or significant other before you’re even gone, or you may be grieving the physical functions you no longer have. 

Many, many emotional losses come before the loss of life itself so it’s important to take time to nurture that grief. Instead of isolating yourself from others and choosing to deal with grief on your own, talk to someone. 

A friend, a partner, or even your medical team. It may take a few times, but talking about your grievances will help alleviate the burden they cause. 

How To Maintain Self-Awareness During The End of Life:

While it’s likely you have a team of medical professionals by your side day and night, you’re the only one who knows exactly what you’re feeling at exactly the time you feel it. 

While the thought of your final days can feel overwhelming, it may make it easier to understand what that process may look like. Knowing what to expect can make it less frightening and more prepared.

There are a few conditions to look out for in order to maintain a more positive level of self-awareness during this time. 

  • Pain
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Decreased appetite and thirst
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting 
  • Constipation 
  • Extreme fatigue 
  • Delirium 
  • Restlessness
  • Seeing loved ones that have passed
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Skin mottling 

While each person’s death will look different, being on the lookout for these can help you become more aware when death may be near. This can give you time to say goodbye to your loved ones, and have those you care about around you when you pass. 

Dying Is a Natural Process:

Everyone will die eventually. If you’re an individual with a terminal illness it just may be that your time has come sooner than others. Once you accept you have limited time left you can begin spending your final days, weeks, or years living each and every day with meaning and fulfillment. 

It’s common for terminally ill patients to feel as though they’re a burden and to begin to isolate themselves from loved ones. But I want to reassure you this is certainly not the case. In most circumstances, loved ones simply don’t know what to say or how to act, so it’s up to you to keep communication open with them about the way you’re feeling. And yes, there are counselors who specialize in helping people and their families through this transition.

Whether you feel denial, anger, shock, sadness, grief, or acceptance it’s all normal. The sooner you can embrace your emotions, the sooner you can make your time count. 

Resources:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/end-of-life-care/coping-with-a-terminal-illness/#:~:text=It%27s%20normal%20to%20feel%20shock,to%20talk%20to%20a%20doctor.

https://www.verywellhealth.com/dealing-with-terminal-illness-1132513

https://news.unl.edu/newsrooms/today/article/during-terminal-illness-hope-can-have-a-dark-side/

https://www.cancer.org/treatment/end-of-life-care/nearing-the-end-of-life/emotions.html

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Anxiety & Stress Children & Grief Critical Incidents Death in Workplace First Responders Grief Loss Uncategorized

Everything You Need To Know About Mass Shootings and What You May Experience Afterward

Everything You Need To Know About Mass Shootings and What You May Experience Afterward

With a steady increase in mass shootings and violence in the United States, more and more people are left as primary or secondary victims  to these heinous crimes. 

Shootings aren’t anything new to the US, sadly. The rate at which they’re occurring has drastically increased over the years leaving a gaping hole in resources and education for those struggling in the aftermath. 

What exactly is “normal” to feel in the days, weeks, and months after being witness to a shooting event?

Is the way we cope with this trauma different for kids vs. adults?

Let’s talk about it. 

What You Need To Know About The Increase In Mass Shootings:

Why is there such a spike in mass shootings all of the sudden?

Is there a common underlying problem, or is the media just choosing to cover more of these stories than ever before?

Is it because we all have the latest news at our fingertips – making these tragic stories more accessible?

The term mass shooting refers to any situation in which a gunman shoots 4 or more strangers in a sudden attack. While the attack is unexpected the perpetrator may have been planning their crime for months or years before the incident. 

In addition,  in order for a shooting to be considered a ‘mass shooting’ it must occur in any public space such as a school, shopping mall, store, or workplace. While there may be a target of the attack (such as an employee targeting his boss) others are wounded or killed in the process. 

So, why such an increase?

There hasn’t been a single week in 2022 without some instance of a mass shooting. (look at the data on school shootings in 2022)

It’s a heartbreaking statistic that shows that each year our community is left with literally hundreds of survivors and witnesses. These people then have to face the mental, emotional, and physical trauma left behind. 

Many mass shooters are incorrectly labeled as “mentally unstable individuals” who suddenly snap at the drop of the hat. But taking a deeper look shows many of these crimes are either

  1. Hate crimes (such as the shooting that occurred at Pulse, a gay bar in Orlando, Florida) or are
  2. Directed by some agenda and a desire to “send a message” (such as those perpetrated by various extremist groups) 

Shooters are more likely to be vengeful, angry individuals who are seeking revenge on society for their perceived wrongdoings done against them. 

What’s ‘Normal’ To Go Through Emotionally After a Shooting?

While mass shootings should never be considered a ‘normal’ event in society, there are some ‘normal’ emotions and feelings you may be working through after being trapped in one of these terrifying situations. 

One thing we do know, however, is that everyone processes the aftermath of a shooting differently. People may experience a wide range of emotions that come and go like tidal waves, while others may take much longer to overcome the initial denial of their experience. 

No matter what you feel, remember that it’s all subjective to your own personal experience. There is no right or wrong way to handle the aftermath of a shooting. 

Feelings you may experience after a shooting include, but are not limited to:
  • Sorrow 
  • Shock 
  • Fear
  • Numbness
  • Denial 
  • Anger 
  • Grief
  • Disassociation 
  • Depression
  • Anxiety 
  • Paranoia 

While people are incredibly strong and most often bounce back after difficult times, shootings are events that can greatly alter your entire sense of safety and belonging. 

For example, some people struggle with feelings of survivors’ guilt or even just to sleep, eat or perform other daily activities. Some no longer feel safe in large or public places. Others find it hard to be around people and begin to pull back and disconnect from their community.

How Are Children Handling Life After School Shootings?

Children are some of the most resilient creatures on Earth. Have you ever seen a child completely face plant into the ground and then get up and keep on running?

However, the traumatic events of a school shooting are likely to disrupt all of their ‘normal’ emotional and behavioral tendencies.

Emotions and behaviors they may experience:
  • Trouble sleeping 
  • ‘Acting out’
  • Nightmares
  • Anxiety or paranoia
  • Being afraid to sleep alone 
  • Shock 
  • Anger
  • Grief

It’s likely that after a shooting children are faced with navigating complex emotions they may not fully understand. Trauma is difficult enough without loss of lives. Grief for children amidst the chaos only makes things more difficult. It’s important as caregivers to nurture these wounds and support them in whatever way possible. Keep home a safe space to talk to them about what they’re experiencing in the aftermath of a shooting. While forcing or pressuring them to talk about what they have gone through isn’t helpful, remind them often that you’re here when they’re ready to talk. 

When To Seek Help After a Shooting:

There are 2 major interventions needed after a traumatic event like this.

Critical Incident Stress Debriefing / Management (CISD / CISM)

The first should ideally happen within a couple of hours and that is a special type of intervention/debriefing called Critical Incident Stress Management. These CISM professionals are highly trained it what to do right after such event to help the victims and first responders begin to process and deal with the emotional aftermath of the traumatic event.

A Professional Who Specializes in Traumatic Events

The second is to work with a professional psychotherapist who specializes in helping people who have been through a traumatic event, not just one who works with anxiety or PTSD. The best of these are likely also trained in CISM and have many years of experience as well.

While some effects of a shooting may dissolve after about 4 to 6 weeks, in some instances you may be suffering from more long-term symptoms, otherwise known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

The acute stress that can follow after an incident of gun violence is nothing to mess around with. Be mindful of your emotions and behaviors in the months following a shooting. It’s always best to seek help if you:

  • Experience frequent flashbacks or nightmares 
  • Have trouble concentrating on everyday tasks
  • Are having difficulties completing work 
  • Are experiencing intrusive thoughts related to the incident
  • Become easily triggered by things in the environment
  • Feel as though you’re in danger whenever in social settings 
  • Are feeling like you’re constantly on edge or irritable 
  • Have a hard time falling or staying asleep

PTSD can quickly spiral into self-destructive behaviors such as substance abuse, self harm, and other harmful methods aimed at easing your distressing symptoms. If you feel as though you’re not returning back to yourself after a few weeks or months have gone by there are many mental health professionals trained and ready to assist you in overcoming this trauma. 

Remember, while shootings are tragically becoming more common they’re still rare. Focus on your village; your support systems such as close friends or family. While they may not be able to fully understand what you’re going through, you don’t have to walk this journey alone. And if you are live in an area that has suffered such a tragedy – lean in and support your neighbors however you can.

Cultivate Communitywe heal together.

 

Sources:

https://www.counseling.org/knowledge-center/coping-in-the-aftermath-of-a-shooting

https://www.apa.org/topics/gun-violence-crime/mass-shooting

https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/processing-grief-after-a-mass-shooting

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Anxiety & Stress Children & Grief Critical Incidents First Responders Grief Loss Uncategorized

The Mental Health Impact of School Shootings

The Mental Health Impact Of School Shootings In The United States

In response to the multiple tragic school shooting events in the United States, there has been a great deal of discussion about the emotional and mental health impact that these events have had on the kids, teachers and families involved. School shootings are a very traumatic event for everyone involved, and it can take a long time to recover from the physical and emotional injuries that are inflicted.

The impact of school shootings goes beyond the immediate victims and families. These events can have a ripple effect that extends to the entire community. Schools are a place where children should feel safe and secure, and when that feeling of safety is shattered, it can have a lasting impact on the students, teachers, staff and community.

If you or someone you know has been affected by a school shooting, it is important to seek professional help to deal with the trauma. There are many resources available to help you through this situation.

Effects on School Shootings Child Development 

Since the onset of gun violence in schools, there has been a significant amount of research on the effects of this type of violence on child development. Studies have shown that children who are exposed to school shootings are more likely to experience anxiety, depression, grief and post-traumatic stress disorder. They may also have difficulty concentrating and experience changes in their eating and sleeping habits.

This research highlights the need for more support for children who have been affected by school shootings. Such support can help children to cope with the aftermath of these events and to reduce the long-term effects on their development.

Students who don’t witness the shooting firsthand can still be negatively affected. They may have trouble concentrating in school and have anxiety about going to school. Keep in mind that everyone impacted is a survivor.

Effects on Parents

No definitive answer exists to the question of how school shootings specifically affect the parents of the victims. Each situation is unique and parents will react in their own individual ways. It’s not surprising that most studies generally concluded that parents also experience a wide range of intense emotions in the wake of such a tragedy.

The most common emotions that parents report feeling are grief, anger, shock, and guilt. Many parents also report feeling a sense of responsibility for their child’s safety and well-being, and this can often lead to feelings of guilt and regret. In some cases, parents may also struggle with anxiety and depression. It is important to remember that there is no “right” or “wrong” way to feel after a school shooting, and that all parents are simply trying to cope in the best way they can.

Effects on Teachers

As of October 2018, there have been 307 mass shootings in the US, which is an average of almost one mass shooting per day. These shootings have had a profound effect on teachers, who are often the first to respond in these situations.

Teachers have to be prepared to deal with the physical and emotional trauma that comes with a school shooting. They are often the first people on the scene and have to deal with the aftermath of the violence. This can effect their both mental and physical health. In addition, teachers have to be extra vigilant in their classrooms in order to prevent something like this from happening. But our teachers can’t do this alone – they need help. And there is something that each of can  do to help.

How to Cope with the Trauma After a School Shooting?

The trauma of shooting can have a lasting impact on a person’s life. If you or someone you know has experienced a shooting, it is important to get help from a mental health professional to cope with the trauma. 

There are a few first steps you can take to help cope with the trauma:

1. Talk to someone

When people experience a traumatic event, such as a mass shooting, they may feel a range of emotions that can be difficult to cope with. Fear, anxiety, anger, and grief are just some of the emotions that may be present. It can be helpful and encouraging to talk to someone about what you’re going through. This can help you to process the trauma and to start to heal.

Talking to a therapist or counselor can be helpful. You may also find it helpful to talk to a friend or family member. It’s important to find someone who will understand and who will be there to listen. If you don’t have anyone to talk to, there are also support groups that can help. Whatever you do, do not try to go through all of this alone. 

2. Write down what happened

In the aftermath of a mass shooting, it can be difficult to know how to cope with the trauma and grief. For some people, writing can be a helpful way to process these feelings. Writing can provide a space to express what you’re feeling, process your thoughts, and work through your grief.

If you’re interested in using writing to cope with trauma, there are a few things to keep in mind:

First, it’s important to find a safe and comfortable place to write. This could be a journal that you keep private, or a blog that you only share with close friends or family.

Second, don’t feel like you need to write every day. Some days you may feel like writing more than others, and that’s okay.

Third, there’s no correct way to write about your experiences. Write in whatever way feels most natural and most comfortable.

3. Find way to release your negative emotions

A traumatic situation of this is like a forced marathon for your brain’s survival management department. It’s more important than ever to find healthy ways to release your emotions. Events like these can be very difficult to process and can have a lasting and detrimental impact on your mental health. If you witnessed a mass shooting or if you know someone who did, it’s important to find a way to release your emotions in a healthy way.

4. Stay connected to your loved ones

The aftermath of shooting can be extremely difficult for both victims and witnesses. It is important to stay connected with loved ones during this time in order to help cope with the trauma. Some of the ways to stay connected with your loved ones include:

Sending handwritten letters

Calling or texting regularly

Spending time together in person

Sharing photos and memories

Each person will cope with trauma in their own way, so it is important to be supportive and understanding. Staying connected with loved ones can help the healing process after a difficult event.

5. Avoid drugs and alcohol

It is understandable that many people may feel overwhelmed or frightened after witnessing a shooting event. Some may feel the need to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol in order to cope with the trauma. However, it is important to avoid drugs and alcohol for several reasons.

First, drugs and alcohol can make it difficult to process and cope with the event.

Second, they can make it more difficult to remember what happened, which can be essential for providing information to law enforcement.

Third, while drinking and drug use, may appear to ease distress at the front end – but they actually make things much worse. They disrupt normal sleep and eating patterns, wreak havoc on frustration tolerance and memory (which directly impacts mood) and can raise the chances of a more serious mental health problem following a trauma. 

It is important to deal with the aftermath of a shooting in a healthy way. Avoiding drugs and alcohol can really help your efforts to cope with feelings and make it easier to heal the trauma of witnessing a shooting.

6. Get plenty of rest and exercise

Studies have shown that taking time to rest and exercise can help people who have witnessed shooting events. Resting helps to allow the body to heal, and exercise helps to release built-up stress and tension. Both of these activities can help people feel better both physically and mentally after a traumatic event.

Conclusion

Trauma can have a lasting psychological impact on those who survive such an event, as well as those that love them. It is important for those affected to seek professional help and support in order to cope with the emotional damage. Schools, parents and the community can also play a role in supporting those affected by trauma.

Categories
Anxiety & Stress Cancer Resilience Children & Grief First Responders Grief Life Transitions Loss Survivors of Suicide Terminal Illness

Emotional Support Animals in Texas

Emotional Support Animal Laws in Texas

Emotional Support Animals, sometimes referred to as ESAs, have special privileges in the State of Texas under federal laws; they are not considered pets.; they are assistance animals for people with mental and emotional health issues

Housing providers have to accommodate owners of emotional support animals free of charge as a necessity for their health condition. And, unlike typical pets, you don’t have to pay any extra deposits or fees for housing. Emotional Support Animals are also exempt from building policies regarding size or breed. 

These rights are given under the Fair Housing Act and guidance from the U.S. Department of Housing and apply to the State of Texas. 

Any domesticated animals can be kept as an ESA in the home, including dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, and yes…even sugar gliders and turtles! 

In this article, we’ll explain

How you can qualify for an emotional support animal in Texas. 

And, if you qualify,

How you can apply to receive a valid ESA Letter from a healthcare professional (*licensed in Texas) that you can use to secure accommodation for your emotional support animal.

Quick Review of Emotional Support Animal Laws in Texas

Assistance animals have rights under various laws, including the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Both are federal laws that apply to every state in the U.S., including Texas

The ADA governs service animals that have highly specialized training to assist people with both physical or mental disabilities. *Emotional support animals, however, are not the same as psychiatric service dogs. ESAs do not need special training and provide comfort for those experiencing mental or emotional distress just by being present around their owners. 

Emotional support animal owners have rights under the federal Fair Housing Act, which mandates that landlords reasonably accommodate tenants who require an assistance animal. 

Texas Emotional Support Animal Housing Laws Allow ESAs to Live with Their Owners Without Additional Fees.

If you own an emotional support animal, have valid documentation and reside in Texas, you do have certain RIGHTS for housing that protect you from discrimination due to your mental or emotional disability-related need for an assistance animal. 

  1. Housing providers such as landlords, condos, co-ops, and HOAs must reasonably accommodate ESAs, even if the building has an outright ban on pets. 
  2. ESAs are exempt from normal pet policies. That means restrictions on size, weight and breed of pets do not apply to emotional support animals. 
  3. ESA owners also do not have to pay any additional fees (including application fees) or deposits to live with their ESA. 

However, there are LIMITATIONS to these rights

  1. An emotional support animal must be domesticated and well-behaved. This means that you cannot bring a wild or aggressive animal into an apartment, etc. 
  2. Your ESA also can’t pose any health or safety hazard to other residents. 
  3. Some small housing providers are exempt from having to follow ESA rules, such as owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units and single-family houses sold or rented by the owner without the use of an agent. 
  4. In addition, you cannot bring your emotional support animal into your new home unannounced and expect everyone in a no-pet housing complex will comply. You must submit a request for accommodation to your landlord in advance and provide a copy of your ESA letter. 

It’s important to make sure that you have the right documentation for your emotional support animal. Most landlords in Texas are fully aware of what constitutes a valid proof for an emotional support animal.

*Landlords have every right to validate if you have a true emotional support animal by requesting an ESA letter from you

Qualifying for an ESA Letter in Texas

To have a legally recognized emotional support animal in Texas, you will need an ESA letter from a healthcare professional who is licensed in Texas. 

  1. You can request one from your current healthcare professional who is providing services for your mental health. 

OR

  1. You can also reach out to this counselor and apply online for an ESA Letter without having to leave your home.

What Happens Next?

First, the licensed healthcare professional will determine if you have a mental or emotional health disability that substantially limits a major life activity

Qualifying conditions include:

PTSD, anxiety, depression, phobias, autism, and learning disorders. 

Second, the healthcare professional will assess whether an emotional support animal can help alleviate the symptoms of that particular mental or emotional health disability. 

Pretty simple, right? (I told you it wouldn’t be as hard as you might think)

So, How Do I Get Started ?

Just call our number and leave the following. An application packet will be emailed to you and you will not be charged for the service unless you are approved. If approved, an original copy letter will be mailed to your physical residence.

Information we need to get started:

  1. your full legal name, 
  2. city in Texas where you live, 
  3. preferred phone number for contact (in case healthcare provider requires) and 
  4. a personal email where the application documents may be sent. 

(*all info must be that of the owner of the animal/s applied for)

Just Remember

If you’re a Texas resident, your ESA rights require that you have a legitimate ESA letter from a healthcare professional that is licensed in Texas.

man sitting at table with hand on face

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