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Tips for coping after Las Vegas mass shooting

Posted at 12:09 AM, Oct 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-04 14:40:20-04

Experts says survivors from the Las Vegas mass shooting will likely face some emotional trauma, but they are not alone. Any of us can feel the effects, so it's important to know how to process this life-changing and traumatic event.  

Doris Huser and her family were at Sunday night's concert. She said after safely escaping, her daughter started showing almost immediate signs of anxiety and stress. 

"We were in the casino and people were clapping from winning or whatever," Huser said. "People clapping and she freaked out. Mom! They're shooting! They're shooting! They're shooting!"

Experts say Route 91 Harvest Festival concertgoers may suffer from post-traumatic stress and even feelings of survivor's guilt. But don't ignore those feelings.

Destinations Marriage and Family Therapist, Sasha DeCania, said even those just watching the devastation from home can feel the effects. It's called secondary trauma. 

"You don't have to be at that event to be traumatized by it," she said. "You can see pictures repeatedly or watch a video of those images and experience that trauma just as if you were there."

DeCania said to be sure to take some time to step away from the violent images. And don't think your children aren't aware of what's going on. DeCania said kids pick up on things and they are probably talking about it at school. So, don't be afraid to talk about it at home.  

"We just need to be matter-of-fact and clear. This is what I know," said DeCania. "This is what happened. Understanding that children don't forget just because we want them to."

Here are some signs to look out for if you think a friend or loved one is suffering:

- Look for changes in their behavior and sleeping pattern

- Loss of appetite and energy or emotional detachment 

- If you notice any of these signs, encourage them to seek professional help.