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High crime, pandemic may leave some people needing resources to overcome trauma

Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 10:45 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - From the tragedy at a Collierville Kroger, to a murder-suicide at an Orange mound post office, to four people being shot in front of school children near Kingsbury Elementary, it’s been a difficult past couple of months.

“We have had one incident after another here in our community and the violence is pretty overwhelming,” said Melissa Donahue, director of the Concerned Employee Assistance Program at Baptist Memorial.

Wednesday night, Donahue and the assistant director of the program, Dr. Tracy Johnson, led a webinar with Baptist Memorial Hospital about healing from community violence.

“Realize with traumatic events. You may not have been involved in it. Watching it on the news, hearing about it, you can be impacted the same way because you feel vulnerable, like if this can happen to my neighbors, it can happen to me as well,” said Johnson.

Johnson and Donaue say their program counsels thousands of employees within Baptist and across the city.

They advise people that trauma can manifest in countless ways, including being irritable, headaches, holding more tension in your body or not resting well.

“We try to encourage people to take a good look at the mirror everyday and really just ask yourself how are you doing,” Donahue said.

There are resources available.

Most insurance companies offer some sort of mental health counseling.

If you dont have insurance, try community mental health providers through safetynetcenter.org.

There’s also the Crime Victims and Rape Crisis Center in Shelby County.

Ironically, due to the pandemic, Donahue says they have seen a record number of people seeking help.

“People don’t want to have to go to an office, so if they feel they can reach this person by phone or telehealth, they are more apt to reach out for services, Donahue said. “So, you know, thanks to COVID because it definitely made a lot of people who would not normally reach out, reach out and get counseling.”

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