Trauma Team Responds to Charlottesville - Divine Mercy University

Trauma Team Responds to Charlottesville

In the wake of the violence that recently occurred in Charlottesville, VA, a few members of the Center for Trauma & Resiliency Studies (CTRS) at Divine Mercy University, along with other community professionals, were deployed through the Green Cross Academy of Traumatology to respond to the emotional and psychological needs of the community.

Following the aftermath of a traumatic event, it is common to see complaints that follow a recognizable pattern: anxiety, depression, anger, confusion, helplessness. It is not unusual to see a marked increase in people experiencing stress and other mental health symptoms following demonstrations of hatred and racial superiority, like the recent Charlottesville rally. The teams through Green Cross Academy are designed for crisis intervention and to respond within 48 hours domestically and 72 hours internationally, which provides immediate support to those who are suffering. 

Psy.D. student, Jennifer L., encourages those visiting the memorial to share their story.

Dr. Benjamin Keyes, Director of the CTRS, helped to coordinate and provide Compassion Fatigue services to those counselors and therapists who had been directly responding to the crisis.  The consortium of mental health professionals, Resilient Charlottesville, had formed to provide a network of resources to those that are in the local community, but they are not without need themselves.  Additionally, the team provided support directly at the memorial for Heather Heyer, directing them to resources and services available and encouraging them to share their experiences.

“We really strived to decrease the stress of the individuals coming to grieve, as well as provide them the opportunity to stabilize, express some of their stories and receive support from the community,” said Dr. Keyes. “Many of those we spoke with carried a significant amount of fear following the violence and need additional support as the events continue to unfold.”

Through the response of compassion and support, community resilience is increased.  Helping others to recognize the fundamental dignity of each human being, as a result of being made in the image and likeness of God, is referred to often in the letters of St. Paul: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave or free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Through the continued compassionate outreach, such as that of the Center for Trauma & Resiliency Studies and Green Cross Academy of Traumatology, it is necessary to provide the support to those communities who are battling the wounds against human dignity. 

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