How to Cope in Aftermath of Violence

by Anita Foster, Regional Communciations Officer, American Red Cross North Texas Region

In the aftermath of Thursday’s ambush shooting of police officers in downtown Dallas, Texas, we’ve been overwhelmed by a generous community willing to do anything to help, and by people looking for ways to cope. As Red Cross workers, we have the unusual ability to help people get help and give help after emergencies and that’s just what we’ve been doing since the shootings occured.

How to Give Help:

Many people have signed up to be blood donors. We’ve let them know that the donations being made now will help a cancer patient or a car accident victim later down the road, or it could help someone impacted by a violent crime. The need for blood is constant so making a blood donation in the days, weeks or months ahead will always be an incredible way to help another human being.

Dallas PD Blood Drive
Sgt. McCoy was the first in line at the American Red Cross Blood Drive hosted by the City of Dallas on Friday morning, hours after the shootings.

Official funds have been established for those who want to support the officers and their families with a financial contribution. Assist the Officer Foundation is once source you can give to. Just be certain that the charity you select is vetted and legitimate. Sadly, scams that take advantage of our emotional vulnerability are common after events like this.

How to Get Help:

This is a difficult time for everyone affected and it’s important for people to connect with and support each other. Our Red Cross mental health counselors provide these tips to help us stay strong while coping with the stress:

  • Remember that it’s okay to feel nervous. Events like this can cause feelings of uncertainty and anxiety since no one knows for sure what will happen next.
  • Be patient with yourself and others. It’s common to have any number of temporary stress reactions such as anger, frustration and anxiety.
  • Spend more time with family and friends, and offer your support. Hug one another and listen.
  • Stay informed but limit media exposure of the events, especially for children. Children are often more vulnerable to stress reactions related to media than adults.
  • Parents should let children talk about their fears and then reassure them about their safety. Talk with them in ways that they can easily understand. Let them guide the conversation; share details only when they ask about them.
  • Watch for signs of stress in your family, friends and children. Get help from others if needed.
  • Take care of yourself. Eat healthy, drink plenty of water and get enough rest.
  • To reach out for free 24/7 counseling or support, contact the Disaster Distress Helpline at 800- 985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746.

The Red Cross has additional free resources available to Help Children Cope and ways to help us all start to Recover Emotionally.

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