The Vegas Strong Resiliency Center is encouraging residents, visitors and responders to be aware that the second anniversary of the 1 October tragedy can cause anxiety, fear, anger, flashbacks and other effects, and is encouraging those affected to reach out for support during their extended office hours.
"Anniversary reactions are common for those who have suffered a traumatic event or loss," said Terri Keener, a licensed clinical social worker and Behavioral Health Coordinator at the Resiliency Center.
"We encourage people to talk to someone: a trusted friend or loved one or to call our Resiliency Center for support. It's important to reach out for help dealing with feelings of sadness, anger or fear. Connecting with other survivors also can be helpful."
The Vegas Strong Resiliency Center will be open extended hours to support people in advance and on the second anniversary. Hours include:
Sept. 28 - 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sept. 29 - 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Sept. 30 - 8:30 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Oct. 1 - 8:30 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Common anniversary reactions among survivors of a disaster or traumatic event include replaying memories, thoughts or feelings about the incident; grief and sadness; fear and anxiety and frustration, anger and guilt. Suggested coping tips from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration include:
- Know that it's natural to feel sad, angry or anxious, especially if others appear to be enjoying themselves.
- Reach out to family and friends. Don't isolate. Talk about your losses with people who care about you.
- Draw on your faith and spirituality. For many, faith is a source of strength and comfort every day and especially on difficult days.
- Accept kindness and help from others. There is a tendency to resist help from others or to believe that we don't need help as much as others.
- Plan activities. It can be helpful to plan what you are going to do (and who with) before the anniversary date arrives.
- Do things that might help you with overwhelming emotions. If you are a person who likes to exercise or take walks, make sure you do these activities in the days before and on anniversary days.
It's not unusual for survivors of a traumatic event to feel guilt. One way experts recommend processing this emotion is to find a way to honor those who died or were injured by remembering them in private, as part of your faith community, or by doing an activity that has meaning to you in the community at large. It may help to participate in rituals that may provide soothing comfort such as sharing a meal, visiting a special place, or attending a spiritual service.
Connecting with other survivors may help. Many people who have suffered from mass violence say it's helpful over time to connect with other survivors.
After hours, anyone experiencing emotional distress related to a disaster incident is encouraged to call the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1 (800) 985-5990 or text "TalkWithUs" at 66746. The helpline is a multi-lingual resource that provides counseling and support to people 24-hours a day.
The Vegas Strong Resiliency Center is located at 1524 Pinto Lane, 89106. It can be reached at (702) 455-2433 (AIDE) or toll-free at (833) 299-2433. The center's website address is: VegasStrongRC.org.