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Mental Health Effects of Violent Attacks on TV Viewers

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WESLACO – Two of the nation’s deadliest mass shootings occurred this year and these events can leave people with feelings of uneasiness.

The effects are felt strongly by some, but healing starts with self-awareness.

Shots broke the silence in a place of worship in a Texas community and intermixed with the sounds of country music in Las Vegas. The events shattered the concept of what safe is for many people.

The devastation is far reaching even for television viewers.

Ricardo Tovar, a mental health expert, said those exposed to frequent news of attacks may begin to express physical reactions.

“They’ll have body pains and changes in appetite. Sometimes also an increase in alcohol and drug consumption,” he said.

He encourages people to monitor others and themselves for these reactions. Leaving those feelings unexplored can have detrimental effects on the rest of the family.

The next step is to move toward healing. And for this to happen, it is encouraged to involve people close to the individuals.

“Talk about your experience because when you talk about your experience, it’s actually helping you heal,” Tovar said.

Be willing to do the same for someone else. Listen and validate each other’s reactions is a healthy way to find support.

“Set some goals that are realistic. Take one day at a time. Get involved in something that is meaningful to you, and try to do this on a daily basis. That will help you cope with your anxiety in these types of events,” he explained.

The uneasy feelings could linger for weeks and that’s normal, but that shouldn’t stop someone from moving forward.

“Continue living you normal life. We might feel that this is happening more frequently. And yes, it might be. Statistically if this will affect us, it’s very, very slim,” he said.

Tovar said stress can cause someone to have trouble relaxing or sleeping at night, they have to turn the stress off.

If anyone continues to experience life disruptions, Tovar advises them to seek professional help.

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