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Emotional Impact Of Recent Shootings Being Felt In Colorado, Where There's A Dark History Of Carnage In Schools & Other Public Places

(CBS4) - Three deadly mass shootings in a matter of weeks, dozens of families now grieving, and the emotional toll being felt by almost everyone.

"Any place now feels like a place where anything can happen," Dr. Tiamo Katsonga-Phiri said.

Katsonga-Phiri is the director of the Trauma Disaster Recovery Clinic at the University of Denver.

While our country watches as the tragedies unfold in Buffalo, New York; Uvalde, Texas; and Tulsa, Oklahoma, many are not sure how to explain their response and she says it's likely a form of trauma.

"You feel a sense of traumatic response because you feel that threat," she said.

It's a feeling that may hit differently for different people.

Learning two teachers and 19 children were killed at their school in Uvalde could mean parents will feel an increased sense of threat.

"A lot of parents are thinking 'That could have been my child. Do I bring my child to school now?' because they can relate on a very personal level," Katsonga-Phiri said.

Seeing people injured in similar demographics, she says, can illicit the same reaction.

"You realize that is a person like me, or that could be me," she said.

When it comes to responding to those feelings, she says there's not a one-size-fits-all solution, either. But a good start is asking yourself if it's time to take a break from all of the information.

"We want to commiserate and empathize and sympathize with everything that is happening and everyone that is affected, but I think it's okay to be like 'I'm going to watch an episode of Golden Girls and laugh for a half an hour,'" she said.

Simple self care like maintaining a healthy diet, exercising and getting plenty of rest, she says, in some cases can be as helpful as seeing a professional.

"Make sure you are doing all of the things so that when something occurs you are already in resilient place," she said.

Self care, she says, should be looked at as a proactive step, but she says and wanted to stress there's no shame in needing to speak with someone.

RELATED: In Wake of Uvalde School Shooting, Colorado Latinos Impacted By Loss | STEM School Shooting Survivor Calls For More Action: 'Change Anything You Can'


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