Another Mass Shooting Is Distressing. Here Are Some Mental Health Resources For AAPI Community And All Of Us
The mass shooting in Monterey Park has many of us reeling.
Dr. George Meza, of Meza Mental Health Services in Lawndale, has worked to provide crisis intervention services for people who are suffering trauma because of a mass shooting.
Meza said we experience both psychological and physiological responses to trauma like mass casualty events.
“That kind of surreal feeling? It’s coming because of cortisol flooding in your body due to the reaction to the trauma,” he said.
Read LAist’s guide for where to start when you’re looking for mental health help: Need Some Mental Health Support? Start Here
Steps you can take
- Limit how much time you’re exposed to the news on social media or elsewhere
- Take a walk or do something physical to help you work off excess anxiety
- As much as possible, stick to your routines
- Pick one or two people you can have open conversations with about your feelings, perceptions and your concerns
'How do we even celebrate?'
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Asian Mental Health Collective Board Chair Jeanie Y. Chang said the news of the deadly shooting is hitting Asian Americans like her during what should be a time of celebration. She says communication among loved ones is very important right now.
“Oh my god, how do we even celebrate Lunar New Year? You know?" Chang said. "I’m talking to friends and checking up on each other and saying, ‘Hey, it’s okay if you still need to go to brunch.’ And I’m saying that as a therapist because part of what helps in navigating something very difficult is being with others,” Chang added.
Why taking a step back matters
Dr. Steven Siegel, Chief Mental Health and Wellness Officer for Keck Medicine of USC spoke with LAist in the wake of the school shooting last year in Uvalde, Texas. Siegel said for him, it can sometimes helps him to take a step back and allow himself to rest, knowing that he doesn't have to fix everything in the moment.
Melissa Brymer, Director of Terrorism and Disaster Programs at the UCLA–Duke National Center for Child Traumatic Stress, said it also might be therapeutic for families to have conversations about what they can do to bring about change, whether that be contributing to an organization or reaching out to other families.
Confronting the reality of gun violence
At the same time breaks from news and social media are necessary, Siegel also said seeing what gun violence can do to specific families can be a powerful motivator for change.
“Once you’ve seen it you can’t unsee it, it’s not esoteric: it’s this little boy, and it’s this family,” Siegel said. “When you cannot turn away from the horrors of mass shootings, then it is impossible to turn a blind eye.”
Resources for the AAPI community
- The Chinatown Service Center's behavioral health team is offering on call support at: 213-808-1700
- The Chinatown Service Center and City of Monterey Park will offer drop-in, multilingual counseling services on select days through Feb. 3 at Monterey Park Bruggemeyer Library:
318 S. Ramona Ave.
- The Asian Mental Health Collective has a U.S. therapist directory with professionals who specialize in serving the AAPI community.
- AMHC also has a range of free mental health support groups.
- The AAPI Equity Alliance has put together a resource directory for those in need of trauma support
- NAMI California’s list of AAPI mental health resources
- The Asians For Mental Health Therapist Directory
- The California Victims Compensation Board reimburses mental health services for victims and their families.
- Changing Tides, part of the Little Tokyo Service Center, offers stipends for AAPI youth seeking therapy. (https://thechangingtides.org/)
Resources for anyone in crisis
- Steinberg Institute website, links to mental health resources and care throughout California
- Institute on Aging's 24/7 Friendship Line (especially for people who have disabilities or are over 60), 1-800-971-0016 or call 415-750-4138 to volunteer.
- Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, 24/7 Access Line 1-800-854-7771.
- The Crisis Text Line, Text "HOME" (741-741) to reach a trained crisis counselor.
- California Psychological Association Find a Psychologist Locator
- Psychology Today guide to therapist
If You Need Immediate Help
- If you or someone you know is in crisis and need immediate help, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 or go here for online chat.
- Find 5 Action Steps for helping someone who may be suicidal, from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
- Six questions to ask to help assess the severity of someone's suicide risk, from the Columbia Lighthouse Project.
- To prevent a future crisis, here's how to help someone make a safety plan.
About the Monterey Park shooting
A mass shooting at a dance studio in Monterey Park late in the evening on Saturday, Jan. 21, left 10 people dead at the scene and 10 others wounded. An 11th victim died Monday.
What we know so far:
- About those killed: The youngest person killed was 57 and four others were in their 70s.
- Still searching for a reason. “We still don't have a motive, but we want to know the motive behind this tragic event, and the FBI continues to collaborate with us in that portion of the investigation,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said Monday.
- Motive remains unknown: The gunman has been identified as a 72-year-old man who authorities said died by suicide as police approached his cargo van in Torrance late Sunday morning
As we report on that shooting, we are also resurfacing resources and previous reporting that can help people understand the context and get help, if needed.
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