Duke Expert: Political Action Is a Way of Coping For Victims of School Shootings


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  • newswise-fullscreen Duke Expert: Political Action Is a Way of Coping For Victims of School Shootings

    Credit: Duke Health

    Robin Gurwitch, Ph.D., Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University School of Medicine

With the anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., the advocacy actions of students from the school and beyond are one of ways people heal from trauma, says Duke child trauma expert, Robin Gurwitch, Ph.D., who has been involved in events from terrorism (e.g., Oklahoma City, 9/11) to disasters (e.g., Katrina, Joplin and Oklahoma tornadoes) to mass violence (Sandy Hook, Las Vegas).

 

Quotes: “Even those who are most active in bringing awareness and seeking change must also find ways to effectively cope with trauma reactions and reminders of the event," Gurwitch says. “Compassion, support, and active efforts to heal are needed to help victims, survivors, their families and the entire community cope and grow after such a trauma.

 

“Similarly, even those who are not directly exposed to the trauma, but who have had similar traumatic experiences or loss, those who may be at similar risk for such an event, or those who watched through media coverage can benefit from awareness of how the anniversary may impact them and ideas for how to cope with reactions at this time of year. It is especially important for parents and other caregivers to be open to discussions with their children about such events and to provide ideas for effective coping"   

 

Bio: Robin Gurwitch is a Duke clinical psychologist and member of the American Psychological Association’s Disaster Response Network and the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. She recently completed an appointment as a member of the National Advisory Committee on Children and Disasters under the U.S. Department of Health and Humans Services. She is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in supporting children after trauma and disasters. Gurwitch can be reached at robin.gurwitch@duke.edu, or (405) 659-9513.

 

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