People personally affected by mass killings urged a willingness to seek counseling, by people emotionally scarred by the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting.
Columbine High School Principal Frank DeAngelis said he still goes to counseling, almost fourteen years after the attack at his school. DeAngelis urged people connected to Sandy Hook to be willing to seek professional help.
“One of the best pieces of advice was from a Vietnam war veteran who said ‘You are not going to be able to help your students, you are not going to be able to help your parents, if you don’t help yourself,’” DeAngelis said. “I got into counseling immediately, and I know when to go in for additional help.”
DeAngelis says he still gets calls from former students, now in their early 30′s, seeking help.
A woman who organized fellow September 11 families told people to recognize their emotional triggers. Voices of September 11 co-founder Mary Fetchet said anniversary observances can help to build a community of survivors and family members.
A chaplain who responded to a mass shooting at a Wisconsin Sikh temple reminded community leaders to take care of themselves.
“You have seen what hate can do. You will now see what love can do,” said Reverend Greg Young.
Noting that she had a parent’s permission to discuss the case, psychologist Jamie Howard said she had seen a 7-year-old Sandy Hook survivor. She said the girl had drawn her former teacher, guns and coffins, because she was afraid there were guns in heaven, and that her former teacher might not be safe.
The child was later reassured by a priest.