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Mass Shootings and Mental Health: How to Cope

You don’t need to be a victim of gun violence to experience the deep connection between mass shootings and mental health. Just seeing stories about shootings on the news is enough to cause fear and anxiety, and that might be especially true if you are a person of color or a parent—both of which are groups that have been distinctly touched by gun violence in recent months.

With anxiety and nervousness on the rise, it’s important to find a way to deal with the very real toll of mass shootings and mental health triggers related to these events. Whether it’s general fears around gun violence or anxiety and fear about going out in public or sending your child to school – addressing and accepting your feelings are an important tool to cope. 

Explore the following exercises and coping strategies, including grounding techniques for anxiety, and additional methods for prioritizing your needs and feelings. 

Tips for Managing Anxiety and Fear Following Mass Shootings

Experiencing anxiety around gun violence is normal, especially considering how often we hear about it in the news and on social media. Fortunately, there are many things you can do in your day-to-day life to prioritize your mental health, as well as others. Try these tips to help deal with ongoing fear and anxiety: 

Tip #1: Be Mindful

Ignoring anxiety doesn’t make it go away. As uncomfortable as it is, it’s essential that you recognize your anxiety and allow yourself to feel it. This is key for processing and addressing your emotions, especially when they’re tied to real-world events like mass shootings.

Tip #2: Seek Professional Assistance

Therapy can be immensely helpful for dealing with a fear of gun violence. And if you’re the parent of a child experiencing shooting-related anxiety, then family therapy in particular will offer an opportunity for healthy communication about these common fears.

Tip #3: Practice Grounding Exercises

There are various grounding techniques for anxiety that could be helpful in moments of acute stress or panic. Start by slowing down your breath. Then redirect your senses by naming five things you can see, four you can touch, three you can hear, two you can smell, and one you can taste. Doing something with your hands can also help ground you, such as knitting or an adult coloring book.

Grounding Techniques for Anxiety

Tip #4: Limit Media Intake

Too much media access can be a negative thing. Pay attention to how media (news, social media, etc) is affecting you and the people around you, and consider limiting the amount of time you spend interacting with it.

Tip #5: Look for Resources and Support

Seek out support or advocacy groups and connect with others who share your fears and anxieties—for example, your local branch of Everytown for Gun Safety or Moms Demand Action. This may also be a chance to get proactive and lend your voice to the call for gun legislation.

With mass shootings and other difficult, scary topics, it’s important to be mindful of what’s going on and how it makes you feel. Checking in with ourselves and practicing grounding techniques can go a long way toward reducing anxiety levels, as can taking action and fighting for change.

About Synergy Health Programs

At Synergy Health Programs, our goal is to always provide compassion and respect to the communities we serve with mental and behavioral health programs designed to meet the individual needs of our patients. Explore our comprehensive list of mental health services and find a program nearest to you in Connecticut, Florida, and Pennsylvania. 

For additional questions, please fill out a separate contact form or call us directly at (855) 859-8808.