Hospice of Santa Barbara is shocked and saddened by the shooting in Isla Vista. Our support goes out to the victims, their families and the university and community members impacted by this tragedy.
Hospice of Santa Barbara is offering its free bereavement support to anyone impacted by the deaths in Isla Vista. Call 805.563.8820 or click here for more information.
“Common responses to grief include feelings of shock, numbness, anger, anxiety and fatigue, in addition to physical sensations and thoughts of confusion or disbelief,” said Gabriela Dodson, HSB director of clinical services. “These are all normal and natural feelings. We at Hospice of Santa Barbara are here to provide bereavement support to anyone in the community.”
Profound sadness, worry, heightened vigilance and even emotional numbness are normal reactions in the immediate aftermath of violent events such as the attack in the Isla Vista neighborhood Friday night.
» Talk about it. Ask for support from people who care about you and who will listen to your concerns. Receiving support and care can be comforting and reassuring. It often helps to speak with others who have shared your experience so you do not feel so different or alone.
» Strive for balance. When a tragedy occurs, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and have a negative or pessimistic outlook. Balance that viewpoint by reminding yourself of people and events which are meaningful and comforting, even encouraging. Striving for balance empowers you and allows for a healthier perspective on yourself and the world around you.
» Turn it off and take a break. You may want to keep informed, but try to limit the amount of news you take in whether it’s from the Internet, television, newspapers or magazines. While getting the news informs you, being overexposed to it can actually increase your stress. The images can be very powerful in reawakening your feeling of distress. Also, schedule some breaks to distract yourself from thinking about the incident and focus instead on something you enjoy. Try to do something that will lift your spirits.
» Honor your feelings. Remember that it is common to have a range of emotions after a traumatic incident. You may experience intense stress similar to the effects of a physical injury. For example, you may feel exhausted, sore or off balance.
» Take care of yourself. Engage in healthy behaviors to enhance your ability to cope with excessive stress. Eat well-balanced meals, get plenty of rest and build physical activity into your day. Avoid alcohol and drugs because they can suppress your feelings rather than help you to manage and lessen your distress. In addition, alcohol and drugs may intensify your emotional or physical pain. Establish or re-establish routines such as eating meals at regular times and following an exercise program. If you are having trouble sleeping, try some relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation or yoga.
» Help others or do something productive. Locate resources in your community on ways that you can help people who have been affected by this incident, or have other needs. Helping someone else often has the benefit of making you feel better, too.
» If you have recently lost friends or family in this or other tragedies, remember that grief is a long process. Give yourself time to experience your feelings and to recover. For some, this might involve staying at home; for others it may mean getting back to your daily routine. Dealing with the shock and trauma of such an event will take time. It is typical to expect many ups and downs, including “survivor guilt” — feeling bad that you escaped the tragedy while others did not.
Content courtesy of Hospice of Santa Barbara and the American Psychological Association.
Hospice of Santa Barbara “volunteers” its free professional counseling and care management services to more than 600 adults and 125 children every month who are experiencing the impact of a life-threatening illness, or grieving the death of a loved one. Hospice of Santa Barbara is also present on eight local middle and high school campuses as well as UCSB to work with children, teens and young adults who are grieving the loss of a loved one. For more information about Hospice of Santa Barbara, including volunteer opportunities, find Hospice of Santa Barbara is also on Facebook and Twitter.
For information on the UCSB grief support group, individual counseling or other support groups, please call 805.563.8820 or click here.
— Kelly Kapaun is a publicist representing Hospice of Santa Barbara.