trauma

The wrenching testimony of Christine Blasey Ford, who is accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of a sexual assault years ago, raises questions about the long-term emotional and physical toll this kind of trauma takes on survivors and how our society responds to those who come forward long after the assault.

When researchers first discovered a link in the late 1990s between childhood adversity and chronic health problems later in life, the real revelation was how common those experiences were across all socioeconomic groups.

Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

On a recent Friday at Florida Atlantic University, Deb Del Vecchio-Scully began a lecture on trauma by asking an auditorium full of therapists to stand up and shake their bodies out like rag dolls.

"Do it with me," she said, as the room giggled and jiggled.

It was a light moment with a serious purpose. Del Vecchio-Scully explained that this was just one technique the therapists could offer a patient to help deal with the discomfort of traumatic stress.

Parkland
Caitie Switalski / WLRN

The organization Parkland Cares, founded in the wake of the February mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, awarded its first three grants to local mental health service providers Mondy, totaling $75,000. 

The Children's Bereavement Center, Behavioral Health Associates of Broward and Henderson Behavioral Health each received checks for $25,000, which will go directly to creating services, subsidizing services, or making counseling more accessible for residents. 

Leslie Ovalle / WLRN News

As the community around Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School prepares to go back to school, the Florida Counseling Association is hosting a free, two-day workshop focused on responding to communal trauma. The Friday event is tailored for mental health professionals, while the Saturday event is open exclusively to MSD staff.

fireworks
Patience Haggin / WLRN

For survivors of the Parkland School Shooting, Wednesday’s fireworks celebrations for the Fourth of July could be a source of anxiety. 

Ryan McBride / Courtesy of the Boston Herald

Every high school graduation is a triumph in its own way — a mix of beginnings and endings.

And there’s another story that now belongs to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School class of 2018: the journey that comes after tragedy.

As students count down the days until summer vacation, concerned parents are scrambling to keep survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre occupied so they don't have extra time to relive the nightmare.

If this were a normal Monday morning, students at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, would be heading back to class. Instead, school is closed, its classrooms still a crime scene. The big question for investigators: How did a gunman walk into school Friday morning, killing 10 people and wounding 13?

But Katelyn "Kayte" Alford and her 1,400 classmates struggle with a different question: How do we move on from this?

Stoneman Shooting Survivors
Leslie Ovalle / WLRN

"We are the long-term people." That's how  Dr. Judith Aronson-Ramos, a member of the Advisory Board of Parkland Cares, describes the mission of the organization. 

Nadege Green / WLRN

Immediately after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, counselors and therapists were available in local parks.  But since that public showing of mental health support, students and their families continue to struggle with the trauma of what happened.

Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

Throughout the second week after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left  17 people dead, experts sent by the Israeli government hosted a series of trauma training sessions in Broward County for teachers, counselors and other members of the community who were coping with the violence.

 

Courtesy

Senate Minority Leader Oscar Braynon wants to create a $10 million program that would reimburse trauma centers for care provided to victims of mass shootings, and Senate President Joe Negron said he will support the effort. 

Braynon wants to create a fund in the Attorney General’s Office, with money coming from a portion of fees collected from new or renewed concealed-weapons licenses. The program would reimburse trauma centers that treat victims of mass shootings, such as the Feb. 14 attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland that left 17 people dead. 

"Trauma" is a heavy and haunting word. For many Americans, it conjures images of troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The emotional toll from those wars made headlines and forced a healthcare reckoning at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, a pediatrician, would like to see a similar reckoning in every doctor's office, health clinic and classroom in America — for children who have experienced trauma much closer to home.

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