Crisis team ready to help those upset over Vegas rampage
Days after the Oct. 1 shootings in Las Vegas, it's hard to turn on TV news or pick up a newspaper without some mention of the aftermath.
As the story broke of a gunman in a hotel room high above a Las Vegas country music festival, news dominated every television network, every news update on the radio and the front page of every major news website. It's impossible to ignore on social media.
That has led some mental health leaders to suggest a simple solution if you're stressed or depressed by wall-to-wall news of devastating events: Unplug.
"The immersion in the 24-hour news cycle has an impact on people's mood and stress levels," said Rich Roell, the program coordinator for the Washington County Crisis Team. "A lot of our conversations are about unplugging and being conscientious about how much news we're absorbing."
Contrary to popular belief, Roell said, the crisis line doesn't see a higher call volume after public tragedies.
Washington County's new Hawthorn Walk-In Center, 5240 N.E. Elam Young Parkway in Hillsboro, expects calls from people in crisis after public suicides — but in cases similar to Sunday night's shootings, most calls come from people already struggling with anxiety.
Kathi Marriott, clinical manager for the Washington County Crisis Line, said she would expect more calls if a similar event were to happen in the Portland area.
"We did have people upset about the guys that were knifed and killed on the MAX earlier this year," she said, "but it's the kind of thing that, fortunately, has not happened around here with such frequency that people go out and think that every day something could happen."
Roell suggests turning to friends and family to work through feelings, something he said has helped people who have come to the center for care.
"They cite that they feel better now," he said. "They've been driving to work and back putting music on rather than the news, and they've noticed a change: feeling just more calm and more grounded."
Self-care is important, he said, and taking part in activities that get the body moving and maintain connection with friends and family can go a long way to improving stress levels.
The door to the Hawthorn Center is open, he said, should anyone need a place to talk.
"If [people are] starting to lose sleep or feel an increase in anxiety or depression, intrusive thoughts or they're starting to feel less grounded, I really encourage them to give us a call or just stop in," he said.