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Another Mass Shooting Is Distressing. Here Are Some Mental Health Resources For AAPI Community And All Of Us

A pink and purple graphic depicts a therapist taking notes in a chair as a face looks on.
Among the recommendations to face the emotional impact of mass shootings is to have open conversations about feelings and concerns with one or two trustworthy persons.
(Dan Carino
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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.

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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

Meza recommends:

  • 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.

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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

If you need help

Resources for anyone in crisis

Ask For Help

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.

    What questions do you have about mental health in SoCal?
    One of my goals on the mental health beat is to make the seemingly intractable mental health care system more navigable.

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