Mental health is so important right now. Karl Shallowhorn from Mental Health Advocates of WNY says with this kind of tragedy people often times don’t know how to understand or process or know what to do in times of crisis and one thing that we always want to let people know is that there are ways to get help, to talk about what is happening, to process what they are going through and to know that help is available.
If you need any resources, if you never had counseling before, a good place to start is Crisis Services. Karl says they a local agency that provides all kinds of community-based response. There number is 716-834-3131 and that’s an immediate place where people can call for support. He says there is also resources at the Johnnie B Wiley Center all day today until 9pm and that’s at Jefferson and Best. Karl says, There is also the Resource Council of WNY. They are going to have crisis counselors until 9pm today and they will have crisis counselors there as well and they are located at 347 East Ferry in Buffalo, so there are places all over and there are more to come, but the key thing to remember is that if someone needs someone to talk to, it is important to get those feeling out, don’t keep them inside. He goes on to say when you keep those feelings inside you are more likely to develop things like anxiety, depression, but it is the trauma that creates these experiences, whether you were there or even if you know someone who was either injured or murdered or even if you see it on tv it can be triggering.”
Mel asked how do you handle it if you were not directly impacted and you feel like maybe you are taking up resources that maybe you should smile on through because it didn’t impact you as badly as someone else? Karl says, “I would say, remember you are human and that we all have emotions, feelings, and sometimes they begin to interfere with our lives, we might not be able to do things we typically would or we might struggle at work, we might have trouble focusing, we might feel down or fatigued or sad or lose interest in activities that we usually would and when these things start happening, we may want to seek help, especially if those problems persist more than a couple of weeks. He says if you are feeling anxious, nervous, those kinds of things as well, seek help and remember you can also contact the Mental Health Advocates of WNY where I work. That number is 716-886-1242 and we have resources available there to tap into.”
Melanie Camp says it is important for us to take care of ourselves through a time like because then we can be better people in our community, and we can help each other because we are coming from a place of strength. Karl says, “This is a time when we have to be a community and you think about the word community, to be with each other, to help each other, to support each other, to lean on each other and of course with any community there is some who are able to take the lead and be those supports, but even they need help, the leaders need help because we are all going through this together so check in on those that you think might be really strong, but they may be dealing with things themselves so just keep those lines of communication open and also we need to be aware of our children and be aware of what they are going through and help them, if anything, have a way for them to process and talk about what is happening and try to answer questions. He says even if you don’t have an answer, allow them to communicate their feelings.”
Crisis Services Hotline: 716-834-3131
Mental Health Advocates of WNY 716-886-1242
Spectrum C.A.R.E.S. 716-882-4357 - 24/7 Crisis Response for Families and Youth-17 years and younger
Johnnie B Wiley Center 716.885.8500