Illustration by Cierra Pedro

Counseling in the Wake of Tragedy

Blood banks and donation centers have filled up thanks to caring locals, but there are other smaller, everyday ways the community can help with the healing process. Kent Dail, the executive clinical director at Oasis Counseling, offers advice for those impacted by the October 1 attack at Las Vegas’ Route 91 Harvest Festival, which left 58 dead and hundreds of others injured.

When it comes to a tragedy like this, anyone and everyone can be affected. According to Dail, this kind of event can cause longterm mental stress. Oasis Counseling is one of many local clinics currently offering free initial assessments to those who need PTSD treatment and for families who were affected.

“The big signs of PTSD and trauma is reliving the event,” he says. “A lot of these may go away naturally, but if it doesn’t go away after several weeks, it’s a sign [of longterm trauma].”

Since everyone is built differently, the way each person handles the stress of a situation like this is going to vary; some may not be affected at all. Other common signs of trauma may be feeling overly anxious, avoiding certain areas or engaging in dangerous behaviors such as excessive drinking.

Even those who were not directly involved may feel a blow. For example, those with PTSD from former military service or those who’ve had a prior trauma may be triggered by some of the content that has come with the shootings. Dail offers a simple solution for those looking to help friends or family: “Just listen.”

“A lot of people are going to want to talk,” he says. “Be there, love your family, spend time with people you care about.”

Dail says a lot of times people feel as though they need to offer a solution. But during this time, many will simply want to be with those they love. Self-care is essential after a stressful event. Dail suggests spending time with those you care about and being there for those who need it.

“Listening can help more than advice,” he says. “Focus on the good in your life. Focus on how we can heal.”