We grieve for the victims, their families, the witnesses and the greater Orlando community after this horrific act of violence.
And we are grateful for and stand with the community mental health providers who will support the community in the painful aftermath.
The psychological wounds of a trauma of this magnitude can be severe. For survivors, the world may no longer feel safe. Mass violence once confined to action movies and war zones became a reality in their own backyard. In a moment, their sense of safety and trust in the world around them shattered.
These reactions are natural responses to mass violence.
An individual’s experience of trauma impacts every area of functioning — physical, mental, behavioral, social, spiritual. The economic costs of untreated trauma-related alcohol and drug abuse alone were estimated at $161 billion in 2000. The human costs are incalculable.
Healing is possible. People are resilient and when support is in place, a person can find meaning in their lives again, even after a terrible tragedy.
We urge members of the Orlando community – and those in other places who are reacting to news coverage – to be aware of symptoms of trauma and reach out for help. Symptoms may include headaches, backaches, stomachaches; sweating and/or heart palpitations; and changes in sleep patterns and appetite. If you or someone you love needs help, use the SAMHSA Treatment Services Locator or call 1-800-985-5990.
The National Council for Behavioral Health is the unifying voice of America’s mental health and addictions treatment organizations. Together with 2,500 member organizations, serving 10 million adults, children and families living with mental illnesses and addictions, the National Council is committed to all Americans having access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords every opportunity for recovery. The National Council was instrumental in bringing Mental Health First Aid to the USA and more than 500,000 individuals have been trained. In 2014, the National Council merged with the State Associations of Addiction Services (SAAS). To learn more about the National Council, visit www.TheNationalCouncil.org.