The approach of the first anniversary of the 1 October shooting may be a difficult time for many survivors and family members of victims of the incident. The Vegas Strong Resiliency Center is encouraging residents, visitors and responders to be aware that the anniversary can cause anxiety, fear, anger, flashbacks and other effects, and is encouraging those affected to reach out for support.
"Anniversary reactions are common for those who have suffered a traumatic event or loss," said Terri Keener, a licensed clinical social worker and Behavioral Health Coordinator at the Resiliency Center. "Reactions can vary, depending on the individual. For some it can mean a return of distress symptoms you felt immediately after the incident. For others, the anniversary can bring up feelings of unresolved grief or survivor's guilt. It's important to be gentle with yourself, and to surround yourself with the support you need from family, friends and those who care about you."
The Vegas Strong Resiliency Center will be open extended hours over the weekend and on Monday, Oct. 1. The center is located at 1524 Pinto Lane, 89106. It can be reached at (702) 455-2433 (AIDE) or toll-free at (833) 299-2433. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. On Saturday, Sept. 29, and Sunday, Sept. 30, it will be open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. On Monday, Oct. 1, it will be open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The center's website address is: www.VegasStrongRC.org. It also has a Facebook page at: www.Facebook.com/VegasStrongResiliencyCenter.
"We are here to provide support to anyone who may need it over the anniversary weekend or who wants to learn more about the services we offer," said Teresa Etcheberry, assistant manager of Clark County Social Service and manager of the resiliency center.
Common anniversary reactions among survivors of a disaster or traumatic event include replaying memories, thoughts or feelings about the incident; grief and sadness; fear and anxiety and frustration, anger and guilt. Suggested coping tips from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration include:
- Know that it's natural to feel sad, angry or anxious, especially if others appear to be enjoying themselves.
- Reach out to family and friends. Don't isolate.
- Talk about your losses with people who care about you.
- Draw on your faith and spirituality. For many, faith is a source of strength and comfort every day and especially on difficult days.
- Accept kindness and help from others. There is a tendency to resist help from others, or to believe that we don't need help as much as others.
- Plan activities. It can be helpful to plan what you are going to do (and who with) before the anniversary date arrives.
- Do things that might help you with overwhelming emotions. If you are a person who likes to exercise or take walks, make sure you do these activities in the days before and on anniversary days.
- Participate in rituals that may provide soothing comfort such as sharing a meal, visiting a special place, or attending a spiritual service.
- After hours, anyone experiencing emotional distress related to a disaster incident is encouraged to call the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1 (800) 985-5990 or text "TalkWithUs" at 66746. The helpline is a multi-lingual resource that provides counseling and support to people 24-hours a day.
Additionally, anyone who was present during the 1 October shooting at the Route 91 festival is encouraged to immediately file an application with the Nevada Victims of Crime program, as the application deadline is the end of the day, Monday, Oct. 1. Funds from the Nevada Victims of Crime program may help reimburse people for out-of-pocket expenses resulting from the shooting such as medical bills or counseling co-pays not covered by insurance. Even if you live outside of Nevada, weren't physically injured in the shooting, or don't have any eligible expenses now, survivors are encouraged to apply for the program before the application due date of Oct. 1, 2018, in case they incur future expenses that may be covered by the program. Mental health experts say it's not uncommon for survivors of mass violence and trauma to seek counseling months or years after an incident occurred when they become more aware of how they've been affected. An application to apply for the Nevada Victims of Crime Program is posted on the Vegas Strong Resiliency Center's website at www.VegasStrongRC.org. Completed and signed applications need to be submitted to the Nevada Victims of Crime Program by mail, fax or email.
- The mailing address is: Nevada VOCP, PO Box 94525, Las Vegas, NV 89193-1525
- The fax numbers are: (888) 941-7890 or (702) 486-2825.
- Forms also can be emailed to: email@example.com
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 more than 7,000 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.
* IMPORTANT MEDIA NOTES AND VEGAS STRONG RESILIENCY CENTER PROTOCOLS *
Due to an obligation to protect the privacy and confidentiality of families, media will not be allowed inside the Vegas Strong Resiliency Center. We request media observe the following guidelines in covering stories about the operation:
- Media are respectfully asked to remain outside the Pinto Lane location and to be sensitive if approaching potential victims of the 1 October incident, their family members or others affected. No electronic equipment should be "rolling" at the time of the request – only after, and if, a request has been granted outside of the building in the parking lot or sidewalk.
- Please note: The Vegas Strong Resiliency Center shares 1524 Pinto Lane with other, unaffiliated organizations. As such, media are also respectfully asked to be sensitive if approaching individuals and families walking into the building as they may not be seeking services at the Vegas Strong Resiliency Center, but instead may be patients or clients of other services offered in the building.