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Managing Mental and Emotional Distress Through Postvention Methods

Managing Mental and Emotional Distress Through Postvention Methods

Considering the recent school shooting in Florida, we will be discussing what steps need to be taken to help with the grieving process and focusing on postvention techniques to limit suicidal efforts during these emotionally stressful moments.

When events like this happen, there is a lot of loss and emotions run high. This loss leads to families, friends, and even strangers to grieve and question what could have been done to stop such a traumatic event from happening. These feelings are not restricted to those in the community but affect many people across the country. Yet, these feelings can lead to many mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. When these feelings are not properly managed, they can lead to risky situations, such as suicide or acting out through anger.

How can you manage these emotions of distress after a traumatic event?

  • Talk to others about it. You can always ask those who care about you if they can listen to your concerns. This can show comfort and reassurance, but it also allows you as an individual to release some bottled-up emotions. It can also help if you speak with those who have gone through the same experience so that you do not feel isolated.
  • Take some time for a distraction. Whether it is a national, local, or personal event, you need to take a break. When it is on the news and you want to stay informed over the events that are transpiring, it can take a toll on your mental health. Being overexposed to the situation can increase your stress, thus increasing risk for depression. While taking a break from hearing or seeing it, take some time to stop thinking about it. Do something that you enjoy and use it as a distraction from the thoughts that are focused on what is happening.
  • Your feelings are valid. Honor them. Emotions can vary, especially after a traumatic event. You may feel stressed, sad, or hurt. It is okay to accept that you are feeling this way, so long as you do not let them control every action in your life.
  • Take care of yourself. Try and make sure that you are engaging in healthy behaviors. It is easy to let yourself fall into a pit of depression, and easy to cut yourself off from everything. This can lead to coping mechanisms like alcohol and drug use, being alone too long, skipping meals, and not taking care of your personal hygiene. Instead of falling into these unhealthy behaviors, focus on eating well balanced meals, getting plenty of rest, staying clean, adding in physical activity, and keeping clear of misusing drugs and alcohol.
  • If you have lost friends or even family in a tragedy. Grieving is a lengthy process. It will not be resolved overnight. Give yourself the needed time to experience the feelings that you are having and to work on recovering. Each person is different, some need to stay home to avoid the questions and comments they will hear from others, and some need to go back to their daily routines. Just remember that you need to take care of yourself, and that if you feel depressed, that it is okay. Grief will appear in many forms, but you only need to focus on how to handle it safely and properly for yourself.

By following these steps, you can help yourself, and even others during that time of suffering.

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