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Mental Healthcare Key To Community Healing

BEND, OR -- Mental health experts say feelings of anger, sadness, anxiety, even fear are very typical after a traumatic event, like Sunday’s shooting, even for those not directly involved. Deschutes County Director of Behavioral Health Janice Garceau says It’s okay to admit this is hard, "Acknowledging that an event like this is painful for you, even though we all try to tell ourselves why it shouldn’t be as painful for me as it might be for someone else, that moment of acknowledgement is such a powerful way that we’re part of a community and that we acknowledge our humanity. And that we make contact with our heart. It turns out that that is the part of ourselves that we need to connect with other people; that we need for hope; that we need for compassion."

She tells KBND News there are things we need to do to start that healing process, "First of all, to know that it is normal to have strong feelings. Second of all, to really pay attention to the signals that our body and our social circles send us that maybe we’re having more than the - I hate to use the word ‘normal’ - but we’re having a level of response that we should be concerned about." If you notice changes to sleep or eating patterns, lose interest in activities, or depression, she urges you to seek additional help, either from a therapist, faith leader or family.

WEB EXTRA: More of the conversation with Garceau and KBND's Heather Roberts:

The Community Assistance Center is at Pilot Butte Middle School, available from 3 to 7 p.m. through Friday. "It’s a place where people can drop in if they’re just struggling to shake some of the more strong feelings associated with an event like this," says Garceau, "There are staff there that are trained in how to help people debrief after a crisis." It’s a partnership between the county, DA Victims' Assistance office, Bend-La Pine Schools and St. Charles. If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the 9-8-8 crisis line or visit Deschutes County’s Stabilization Center.

A northeast Bend church will hold a public prayer vigil Wednesday evening, in an effort to allow the community to grieve together. Bend Church of the Nazarene is located on 27th Street, just north of The Forum Shopping Center. They will also have a memorial wall where the public can leave messages. The prayer vigil starts at 6:30 p.m.


Image: A crowd gathered at Drake Park for a community vigil Monday evening, 24 hours after the deadly Safeway shooting.

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