Los Angeles,
13:43 PM

Mass Violence and Public Health: What Can We Do?

Cedars-Sinai experts say that when it comes to mass shootings, all of us are victims--not only the people who live in Dayton, Ohio, or El Paso, Texas. 

"If we are constantly worried abut mass shootings, and if we are left to feel powerless and feel like there is nothing we can do, then that feeling of stress will escalate and the trauma will get worse," said Jonathan Vickburg, a licensed marriage and family therapist with the Cedars-Sinai Share & Care program. The program provides services to students who are experiencing emotional and academic challenges due to traumatic situations and stressors. 

"If there is free floating anxiety with us all the time, we feel it and our kids feel it, and for kids it’s more difficult because they may not be able to express what they are feeling," Vickburg said. 

How to get rid of the stress? Turn off the news and social media, Vickburg said, and find activities that can foster a feeling of safety and empowerment. "If your kids are scared of going out  to public events you should go with them and teach them to first look for the exits in a movie theater or shopping mall, " he added. "Perhaps enroll in a safety class with your local police or get involved in groups helping to change gun laws. Action breeds confidence." 


Brett Dodd, BSN, RN, Trauma Education, Injury Prevention and Outreach Coordinator
We want to educate and empower people to act in an emergency. Learning how to save lives by taking our free Stop The Bleed class can help combat feelings of hopelessness. 
Brett Dodd, BSN, RN, Trauma Education, Injury Prevention and Outreach Coordinator

Another way to feel empowered is to attend a free "Stop The Bleed" class, said Brett Dodd, RN, MS, Cedars-Sinai's Trauma Education, Injury Prevention, and Outreach Coordinator. Since 2017, Dodd and his colleagues have taught more than 1,600 Southern Californians how to save lives in the event of a mass trauma.

The next one-hour class is scheduled for this Wednesday morning, Aug. 7 at 10:30 a.m. in the Women's Guild Simulation Center for Advanced Clinical Skills. It is free and open to the public. Click here to reserve a seat in the class.

"Stop The Bleed was started after the Sandy Hook school shooting because after trauma, bleeding is the No. 1 cause of preventable death," Dodd said. "We teach how to apply direct pressure to a wound, how to pack a wound and how to apply a tourniquet. The best part is that you don't need any special equipment. Anyone can save a life if they know what to do."

Rabbi Jason Weiner, senior rabbi and director of the Cedars-Sinai Spiritual Care Department, says it's normal to feel fearful, angry and vulnerable whenever a mass shooting hits the news.

"It is important to remember that the number of people who run to help the victims far outnumbers the number of evil perpetrators who carry out these heinous acts," Wiener said. "While we acknowledge that there is indeed illness in our world, we should also remember–and be comforted by the fact--that there are many more people dedicated to helping those in need and making the world a better place, and we should rededicate ourselves to helping the situation however we can."

Read more in Discoveries: Scalpel vs. Bullet: Perspectives on Gun Trauma