COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Uvalde, Texas is nearly 1,000 miles away from Columbus, Georgia. The effects of this tragedy have not only been felt locally, but around the world.
Anguished parents are grieving the loss of at least 19 children, the youngest victims of the latest gun massacre in America. This time striking a close-knit, mostly Hispanic and Latino community. Two adults were also killed in the rampage.
Following the senseless attack, The Pastoral Institute CEO, Tom Waynick, tells News 3 it’s very normal and common for events like this to trigger past traumas.
The Pastoral Institute has been serving the Columbus community since 1974, offering counseling services and working closely with various entities like local law enforcement and school systems to provide easy access to services. Waynick says they have seen an influx of patients over the last two years as the need for mental health services has also increased.
He says we need community now more than ever.
“In one sense, we’re all victims to something like this. Secondary and tertiary effects of violence and trauma and grief. And certainly that affects our sense of loss, our sense of safety. And so you can be many miles away and still experience the effects of this horrendous act. And that’s why taking care of ourselves, taking care of each other, taking care of our mental health is so important.”Tom Waynick – CEO, Executive Director The Pastoral Institute
Waynick says it all starts at home but that same stability can also be found through therapy, support groups, and community. Their focus is shifting the stigma of therapy from being a weakness to seeing it as a strength.
Here are ways to handle grief or cope with trauma.
The Pastoral Institute in located at 2022 15th Avenue Columbus, Georgia 31901 and can be called at 706-649-6500.
Officials identified the shooter as 18-year old, Salvador Ramos.