Clark County and the Vegas Strong Resiliency Center are inviting Las Vegas-area residents to sign banners with messages of support for the community of Thousand Oaks, Calif., as they cope with the aftermath of the mass shooting that occurred there Wednesday night.
One banner is on display for the public to sign in the Rotunda of the Clark County Government Center, 500 S. Grand Central Parkway in downtown Las Vegas. A second, identical 8-foot banner will be on display starting Tuesday for clients visiting the Vegas Strong Resiliency Center, located at 1524 Pinto Lane. Both buildings are closed Monday in observance of Veterans Day. Starting Tuesday, regular office hours at the Government Center are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hours at the Vegas Strong Resiliency Center are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The banners will be available for signing at both locations through Friday, Nov. 16, and then will be delivered to the community of Thousand Oaks. The banners feature an illustration of the Las Vegas Strip's skyline and the words, "Las Vegas & Clark County Love & Support Thousand Oaks." They also feature Clark County's orange and blue "People First" logo and the Vegas Strong Resiliency Center logo.
The Vegas Strong Resiliency Center is offering support to 1 October survivors affected by the mass shooting that occurred in Thousand Oaks, and anyone in our community who may need support. Staff is available by phone and for walk-in clients each day at the Vegas Strong Resiliency Center. Some victims of the shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill also were survivors of the 1 October shooting that occurred in Las Vegas during the Route 91 Harvest Festival.
"We encourage anyone who is struggling with fear or anxiety or sadness because of 1 October, the Thousand Oaks shooting or other violent events to reach out and call us," said Teresa Etcheberry, assistant manager of Clark County Social Service and manager of the resiliency center. "Our 1 October survivors, in particular, may suffer from retraumatization when other shootings occur because it reminds them of the trauma they experienced."
Mental health experts say reminders of trauma and mass violence can affect people in different ways and at different times, including hearing or seeing news about other violent events. The Vegas Strong Resiliency Center can be reached by phone at (702) 455-2433 (AIDE) or toll-free at (833) 299-2433 and by
email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Its website address is www.VegasStrongRC.org. It also has a Facebook page at: www.Facebook.com/VegasStrongResiliencyCenter.
Bridge Counseling in Las Vegas is hosting free support groups at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13, and Wednesday, Nov. 14, for anyone struggling with processing effects from the Thousand Oaks shooting or 1 October. Experts say when people experience retraumatization it may trigger flashbacks, memory issues, mood swings, drug or alcohol abuse, and changes in diet, sleep, work habits or hygiene, and other symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
A local support group for Route 91 survivors and family member meets the first Tuesday of the month, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., at the Nathan Adelson Hospice Center for Compassionate Care, 4131 Swenson St.
Mental health experts say support groups can be helpful for people who are dealing with mass violence because they offer a safe environment for talking about shared experiences and emotions. Survivors are encouraged to contact the Resiliency Center if they have interest in participating in a support group or in receiving individual therapy. The center's staff also will work to connect 1 October survivors here or in other locations with therapists in their communities. A list of coping tips available on the Resiliency Center's website may be helpful to those who affected by the shootings. Suggestions include:
- Reach out for help. Feelings of sadness, anger, anxiety and depression are common after a traumatic event. When you feel distressed, don't be alone. Talk to someone who is understanding and cares about you including a friend, family member, pastor or therapist. After hours on weekends or holidays, call the national Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 to talk with a trained crisis counselor. Bridge Counseling also has local therapists available by phone 24/7. Its phone number is: (702) 474-6450.
- Seek Counseling. If you are struggling with memories, flashbacks or reminders of the violent event, counseling can offer some coping strategies. It's not uncommon for survivors of mass violence to seek out counseling months or even years after an event.
- Stay in your normal routine as much as possible. Even if you don't feel like it, go back to work, to school and try to carry on with your usual chores. It will help to reduce stress if you continue doing the things you would normally do every day. Anniversaries and special events like holidays or birthdays may be particularly difficult, especially for those who lost a loved one. To cope plan to be with people who care about you and plan an activity together.
The Vegas Strong Resiliency Center opened on Oct. 23, 2017, to provide free resources and support to anyone affected by the 1 October shooting including survivors, family members of victims, responders and those who witnessed the incident or tried to assist victims. Since the Vegas Strong Resiliency Center opened, it has served about 8,000 people. Services include victim advocacy and support; legal consultations for civil legal matters such as debt collection, foreclosure, insurance claims, and family law issues; grief counseling and spiritual care referrals; and technical assistance accessing online resources including FBI Victim Assistance Services for claiming personal items left behind at the 1 October concert venue.