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Statement from Paul Gionfriddo in Response to Tragedy in Orlando

Mental Health America mourns the victims in the tragic shootings in Orlando, Florida at Pulse Orlando Night Club. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, victims and everyone who has been affected by this horrific event.  Terrorism and hate crimes have no place in any modern society, and we applaud so many of our national leaders who have condemned them while pledging to support everyone victimized by trauma in the Orlando community and the nation as a whole.

After a harrowing event, such as the Orlando shootings, many people may feel anxiety, trauma or merely unable to process or accept what has happened. Mental Health America has developed guidelines to help individuals cope with tragic events, which can be found at: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder.

In addition, MHA affiliates around the nation are ready, willing, and able to offer support to individuals in their communities who are affected by traumatic events – many in partnerships with other local resources.  We do better together, and that is a philosophy we remember especially at times like this. The Mental Health Association of Central Florida, an MHA Affiliate based in Orlando, has been at the forefront of providing counseling services since the night of the shooting, assisting groups as well as individuals. However, MHACF CEO and President Candice Crawford says that there will be a huge need for ongoing counseling and support for delayed and community trauma in the weeks and months to come.  Though MHACF has been fortunate to have volunteer counselors assist in their efforts, more volunteer counselors are needed for the long-haul. Interested counselors should contact MHACF at (407) 898-0110. Already, other affiliates in Florida and outside have volunteered their help, and we encourage other agencies and individuals to do so as well.  Click here to make donations to MHACF.

Individuals experiencing delayed trauma or PTSD may also find it useful to seek professional help from a counselor or mental health professional in their own communities. If you are seeking counseling or would like to access to a mental health professional, please contact the local MHA Affiliate in your area.

Additional Resources:

Heart of Florida United Way

Disaster Distress Helpline

Behavioral Health Resources re. Incidents of Mass Violence

National Child Traumatic Stress Network

American Psychological Association

Common Sense Media Explaining the News to Our Kids  

American Red Cross

The Trevor Project

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