ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — In the wake of the mass shooting that happened in Buffalo, the state’s Office of Mental Health is providing necessary resources to help New Yorkers heal. The Office says what happened in Buffalo was of colossal magnitude and requires a long term healing process.
“I don’t want to pretend that anything I say today can blunt how horrible and how horrifying this is. And we know together, that the only way through is with each other,” said Associate Commissioner for the Office of Mental Health, Sarah Kuriakose. She says everyone who is touched by a disaster is affected in some way. It’s normal to feel stress, anxiety and grief.
“This doesn’t mean you’ll feel this exact way forever, most people feel better over time, most people are able to call on coping skills and support and it’s important to watch out for yourself and for others so you can seek additional help,” she said.
The office discussed the effects that racism can have on a person’s mental and physical health. Furthermore, they identified some ways to cope with racism and racial trauma. This includes finding a mentor, talking about the experience, identifying specific triggers and possibly getting involved in activism.
Doctor Sidney Hankerson, who is also the Director of Mental Health Equity Research says when it comes to recovery, people in the black community are more likely to reach out to informal networks like family members or faith based leaders.
“And so identifying and calling in these informal leaders, I see somebody talking about barber shops and beauty salons, absolutely and also thinking about how we can engage our youth, through sporting events and schools and other trusted networks,” he said.
The Office says racism can impact mental health and if you’re struggling you’re not alone. You can text GOT5 to the Crisis Text Line at 741741. A trained crisis counselor will receive it and respond within minutes.