HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY 1
Individuals who experience traumatizing events face severalpsychological issues, but the major one is Post-Traumatic StressDisorder. Behavioral health experts report that it is common forvictims and first responders to experience intense memories oftraumatic events. However, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder comes aboutwhen these memories become involuntary and intrusive (Zoroya, 2016).Zoroya reports that Kathy Platoni one of the witnesses of the FortHood mass shootings, still suffers from PTSD seven years later.First-responders, such as the police and the military, end upsuffering similar psychological problems as the immediate victims oftraumatic events. Symptoms of PTSD include a feeling of helplessnessand despair. Apart from PTSD, survivors and witness of traumaticevents suffer from other psychological problems such as increasedanxiety and depression(Insel & Roth, 2014).
While the immediate victims of violence experience the most severepsychological problems, these events traumatize even individuals wholive many miles away from where the incidents took place.Additionally, the community where the acts of terror and gun violenceoccur shows psychiatric symptoms. Also, individuals who respond tothe incidence of terror attacks and gun violence end up going throughintense psychological problems. For example, John Max The LawEnforcement Survival Institute’s executive director reports thatabout 13-35% of police officers show signs of PTSD (Zoroya, 2016).While people expect police officers to be tough considering thenature of their training and work, this is usually not the case. Forinstance, John Marx reports that the belief that police officersshould be tough is resulting in many of them enduring the traumawithout seeking for help (Zoroya, 2016).
The media provide extensive coverage to incidences where terror andgun-related attacks have taken place. People who watch the televisedevents over and over are at a greater risk of developingpsychological problems (Kaufman, 2016). Mindy Mechanic a psychologyprofessor, argues that the manner in which the mass media report gunviolence result in a phenomenon she calls “trauma by television”(Kaufman, 2016). This is the trauma acquired indirectly by watchingtraumatic content, particularly on Television where it is verygraphic and visual.
Several programs and services are available to individuals who aregoing through Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder following incidences ofgun violence and terror attacks. The Office for Victims of Crimereports that it provided approximately $65.7 million to the sixStates that had an integral role in addressing the needs of thevictims of September 11, 2001 terror attack. One of the ways themoney was to be used was to finance counseling services for thevictims. Approximately 37,000 victims of the September 9/11 terrorattack were assisted through OVC’s 24- hour toll-free call centerwhere they enjoyed services such as referral to counseling assistance(Office for Victims of Crime, US Dept of Justice, & Office ofJustice Programs, 2005). There are other agencies thathelp victims of traumatic events such as The Law Enforcement SurvivalInstitute that offers counseling help to police officers who aretraumatized by the events where they were the first responders. Theother organization is the Heart of Florida United Way that offeredtherapy to the victims of the Orlando shooting.
In conclusion, exposure to violence increases one’s risk ofdeveloping PTSD and other psychological disorders. Some of the riskscome about through exposure to violent television coverage oftraumatic events. However, a strong social support system can helpthe victims of terror attacks and mass shootings overcome thedevastating effects of these traumatic events.
Kaufman, G.(2016). “Watching all that footage of mass shootings might begiving us PTSD symptoms.”http://www.mtv.com/news/2723735/watching-mass-shootings-ptsd-symptoms-guns-mental-health/
Insel, M. P.& Roth, T. W. (2014). CoreConcepts in Health Brief (13 Ed). McGraw-Hill Global Education, LLC.
Office forVictims of Crime, US Dept of Justice, & Office of JusticePrograms. (2005). Responding to September 11 Victims: Lessons LearnedFrom the States. Accessed on July 21, 2016.http://www.ovc.gov/publications/infores/911lessonslearned/ovcpost911.pdf
Zoroya, G.(2016). “After Shooting stops, another fear sets in: PTSD.”http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2016/06/13/second-wave-hurt-after-shooting-ends-ptsd/85828138/