In the immediate aftermath of a mass violence incident like the Pulse Nightclub attack in June 2016 in Orlando, Florida or the school shooting incident at Saugus High School in Southern California in 2019, it is common to experience feelings of anxiety, helplessness and fear—even for those with no personal connection to the tragedy.
Other signs of emotional distress may include the following:
(Clicking the links below will take you to informational pages located on SAMHSA.gov, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
Learn more about warning signs and risk factors for emotional distress related to incidents of mass violence and other disasters.
“Because these types of disasters are unpredictable and can happen anywhere without warning, it’s normal for people to experience emotional distress,” said Tanya A. Royster, MD, Director of the Department of Behavioral Health. “It’s important to pay attention to your physical and mental health, take steps to relieve stress, and know when to get help.”
Most people who experience emotional distress related to mass violence are able to recover quickly, but others may need additional support to move forward on the path of recovery.
The Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH) encourages residents to call the 24-hour ACCESS helpline (1-800-854-7771) if they feel the need to speak with a professional.
The confidential helpline is available year-round for the community.