Daily self-care is extremely important for individuals with existing physical and mental health diagnoses including eating disorders, depression, anxiety, PTSD and bipolar disorder. It can be even more crucial during times of high stress, uncertainty or exposure to traumatic events. Even indirect, or secondhand exposure, to violence or disasters can have detrimental effects on one’s mental health. Research conducted by Dr. Pam Ramsden in 2015 found that “viewing violent news events via social media can cause people to experience symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”
In the wake of several national and international acts of violence over the past month, most recently the attack in Nice, France, it’s important to assess your own self-care practices and media use and to seek additional help when needed.
Below is a list of resources we’ve compiled that may help you and your loved ones cope in the aftermath of such tragedies.
RESOURCES FOR ADULTS:
- Managing Traumatic Stress: Coping with Terrorism – American Psychological Association (APA)
- Tips for Survivors: COPING WITH GRIEF AFTER COMMUNITY VIOLENCE – SAMHSA
- Building Resilience to Manage Indirect Exposure to Terror – American Psychological Association (APA)
- 5 Digital Self-Care Tips Black People Can Use While Coping with Trauma – Taryn Finley, Black Voices Associate Editor
- Acts of Violence, Terrorism, or War: Triggers for Veterans – U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
- Media Coverage of Traumatic Events – U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
- 11 Ways to Feel Less Helpless this Week – Annie Wright, Upworthy
RESOURCES TO HELP CHILDREN:
- Helping Children Cope With Terrorism – Tips for Families and Educators – National Association of School Psychologists
- Tips for Parents on Media Coverage – The National Child Traumatic Stress Network
- Explaining the News to Our Kids – CommonSenseMedia.org
- How to talk to children about difficult news and tragedies – American Psychological Association (APA)
- Helping Your Children Manage Distress in the Aftermath of a Shooting – American Psychological Association (APA)
If you are experiencing intense or prolonged stress in the wake of violence you’ve experienced firsthand or via exposure through news outlets and social media please do not hesitate to seek help. Speak with a therapist if you have one. You can also seek more immediate assistance via the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990.
A more comprehensive list of hotlines and articles is available in this article by Skyler Jackson, MS of The University of Maryland: 100+ Resources for the Aftermath of the Orlando Mass Shooting Tragedy.