Vibrant’s Statement on Mass Violence
As a national mental health nonprofit, Vibrant Emotional Health works every day to support people in emotional distress on their path to healing. Reportedly, there have been over 200 mass shootings in the United States this year alone. The numerous mass shootings over the past month, along with the ongoing pandemic, create a cumulative effect of vulnerability and uncertainty across the country. This is particularly true for communities of color, who live with the additional daily trauma of systemic racism. The most recent shootings only compound the trauma felt through a collective experience of fear and lack of safety.
Mass shootings impact our collective sense of well-being. Coping mechanisms for managing trauma and grief range from feeling desensitized and numb to feeling helpless to feeling fearful to feeling angry. Experiencing a range of emotions is quite common and can be expected, even by people not directly involved in the violence. Leading with kindness and giving others the grace to grieve in their own ways and times is the first step to allowing our neighbors, friends, and family to heal.
When traumatic mass shootings happen, all too often people with mental health challenges are scapegoated as the cause of our country’s gun violence problem, which misses the real causes of gun violence and further harms our communities. The vast majority of people living with mental health challenges are not violent and are far more likely to experience acts of violence than to perpetrate them. Falsely blaming people with mental health challenges for violence further stigmatizes individuals and dissuades some people from seeking help.
Gun violence is further exacerbated by systemic racism and hatred. Hate crimes targeting marginalized communities and racist mass shootings have been on the rise. Hate and racism are not mental illnesses. As a society, we should not be using mental illness as an excuse to sidestep the creation and implementation of sound public policy to prevent gun violence. Vibrant calls upon legislators to enact sensible legislation that limits access to firearms and protects our communities.
President and CEO
If you or someone you know needs support, you can call or text the national Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to be connected with a trained, caring counselor for emotional support. Both the DDH and Lifeline are available 24/7/365 and your calls are free and confidential.
If you’re in the New York City area, call NYC Well at 1-888-NYC-WELL, text WELL to 65173, or visit their website to chat. Standard messaging/data rates apply for all texting services.
SAMHSA has a tip sheet for coping with grief after community violence.
Teen Vogue has shared a resource on how to cope with race-based trauma.
Liberate Meditation is a free app that provides meditations and talks designed by the Black, Indeginous, and People of Color Community for the Black, Indeginous, and People of Color Community.
Anxiety.com has shared an article on how Black Americans can cope with anxiety and racism.