Duke doctor discusses impact mass shootings could have on mental health

The horrifying mass shootings in Boulder, Colorado and Atlanta can have impact on your mental health here in North Carolina, when so many of us are already dealing with stress from the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Experts say now is the time to check on your mental health.

Are these mass shootings making you sad, angry, less focused, lacking sleep or feeling anxious?

"Understand right now if the recent shootings really escalated some of these that's pretty typical," said Dr. Robin Gurwitch, a psychologist at Duke University. "If they are staying high in the next four weeks then please reach out to your local mental health centers."

Dr. Gurwitch says it's also important to check in on children and ask them questions about the shootings and clear up any misinformation.

"There's been another shooting tell me what you know about it. If they are on any social media they know. We have to validate it. I understand you are worried. Here's what we are doing, here's what we are doing to make sure we are as safe as possible," said Gurwitch.

The state of mental health during this pandemic is a growing concern among scientists.

One-in-5 Americans battle a mental health condition, according to a 2021 survey by Mental Health America. The group found 57 percent of adults receive no treatment.

Nearly 10 percent of children have severe depression and 70% of us feel isolated and alone.

The study also ranked overall health care in 50 states and the District of Columbia based on access, types of conditions and treatments.

North Carolina ranks #41. Vermont is ranked #1. Nevada ranked #51.

Dr. Gurwitch says North Carolina is making strides to improve with the development of the North Carolina Child Treatment program.

"We are starting to think about access more in ways we haven't before but we are also making sure that the services provided are appropriate, which we were not always doing," said Dr. Gurwitch. "Our own self-care really does matter. So what are we doing to take care of ourselves?"

Here are a few mental health resources

Coping After Mass Violence

For Teens: Coping After Mass Violence

Parent Guidelines for Helping Youth After Mass Violence


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Disaster Distress Helpline, Call (800) 985-5990, Text TalkWithUs to 66746

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Call (800) 273-8255, Chat with Lifeline

Crisis Textline - Text TALK to 741741

7 Cups; Free, anonymous and confidential online text chat with trained listeners, online therapists & counselors; https://www.7cups.com

Disaster Helpline (COVID stress, included)

SAMHSA has a Disaster Distress Helpline - call or text 1-800-985-5990 (for Spanish, press "2") to be connected to a trained counselor 24/7/365.
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