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Coping With Trauma and Finding Peace

The recent sentencing of the May 14 Buffalo Shooter brings with it complex and difficult feelings for the people of Buffalo.

Being exposed once again to news and media adds to compounding trauma and collective grief the surrounding community is still trying to heal from. Many are still processing this tragedy, Buffalo H.O.P.E crisis counselor James Peterson speaks on this matter, “The community is not over it. I was in the Tops on Jefferson Avenue yesterday and felt the need to be observant. This refreshes feelings we’ve been having since the incident happened. The effects of this are long lasting.” Peterson goes on to share what helps him cope with this tragedy, “I try to remind myself to remember how the community came together, and all the positives that came from that.”

When it comes to coping with trauma, it’s normal to experience a variety of emotional, mental, and physical reactions. Things to avoid are isolating yourself from friends and family, over-exposure to media (that includes social media), and minimizing your feelings or holding them inside.

Here are some ways to cope:

  • Talk to someone about how you feel;
  • Share feelings with children, and give them space to express themselves as well;
  • Give yourself grace in how you respond to difficult thoughts and feelings;
  • Focus on what you can control; and
  • Try a self-care activity (going on a walk, deep breathing, writing down your thoughts).

Ask for help if you’re feeling overwhelmed or alone, try reaching out to your support systems.

Another Support system is Spectrum Health’s Buffalo H.O.P.E, a free, confidential, and anonymous emotional support helpline. Crisis clinicians are available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 716-566-6506. Also, Spectrum Health’s 24/7 hotline at 716-710-5172.

Marissa Ries,  Kate Hill, James Peterson

Spectrum Health Buffalo H.O.P.E.

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