Las Vegas Sun

October 22, 2017

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Counselors come out in force to soothe a grieving city

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UNLV Photo Services

UNLV offers a variety of counseling services for the campus and larger community.

The cataclysm that unfolded on the Strip during the Route 91 Harvest music festival Sunday left 58 people dead, nearly 500 injured and an entire city in mourning. Many local therapists and organizations are offering their services to help heal those grieving losses or just feeling shaken.

MGM Resorts International has crisis centers available across MGM properties, staffed by certified counselors available to guests and employees in person or by calling 702-692-2300 or 888-634-7111. The only property listing a separate service is Mandalay Bay, from which the shooter fired on the crowd: 702-836-6655 or 877-967-7711.

Culinary Union members are encouraged to schedule appointments for free mental health assistance by calling 800-363-4874. “Nevada is our home, and we will not live in fear," stated the press release from advocacy group La Firma. "Workers serve our country and our community every day. We stand united and together, today and always.”

Volunteers for the Trauma Intervention Program (TIP) of Southern Nevada, a nonprofit that connects witnesses of traumatic events and their family members with trained staff, are on call 24/7: 702-229-0426

The Clark County School District is providing in-person counseling to students and their families, as well as a general hotline: 775-689-0150. “We encourage anyone affected by last night’s shooting to reach out for support if needed,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Steve Canavero said.

The Salvation Army has officers stationed at UMC, Sunrise Hospital, Spring Valley Hospital and St. Rose Dominican Hospitals, offering emotional and spiritual support to anyone in need.

Magellan Health Inc., a for-profit managed health care company, opened a free 24-hour crisis line for those impacted by the Las Vegas shooting; 800-327-7451.

All three Oasis Counseling locations are offering individual consultations to those affected by the crisis free of charge: 702-294-0433.

Mojave Counseling Clinic, staffed by psychiatrists, marriage and family therapists, and licensed clinical social workers, is providing free sessions to help individuals work through issues related to the tragedy. The sessions are free and no insurance is necessary. Schedule an appointment at 702-253-0818.

UNLV for the foreseeable future is offering free crisis counseling at The Practice (702-895-1532) and the Center For Individual, Couple and Family Counseling (702-895-3106). Call for an assessment to be matched with a counselor.

Other therapists and organizations opening their doors to help with trauma counseling include: Synergy Mental Health at 702-966-3121; Erica Zaldivar with Inspire to Shine at 702-350-1650; and Brooks Behavioral Health Center at 702-570-5200.

The Emotional-Support Help Line from health services firm Optum will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for as long as the company deems necessary. The line is free and open to anyone at 866-342-6892. “Unexpected violence and loss can result in feelings of fear, panic, loss, grief or guilt among people who have a connection to the event and others in the community, or even those who are watching it on the news,” Optum Behavioral Solutions Chief Medical Officer Martin Rosenzweig said in a news release. “These feelings can emerge days or even weeks later. Talking through these reactions with caring professionals is an important source of support during difficult times.”

Aspire Mental Health is offering a support group for anyone impacted by the shooting, every Tuesday for the time being from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Call 702-673-7462 for details.

TIPS ON TRAUMA

Counselor Erica Zaldivar of Inspired to Shine offered tips for treating grieving friends and loved ones delicately. Zaldivar says reactions to trauma can vary from person to person, and consist of both emotional and physical symptoms. She notes that the human body can remain hypervigilant even when the threat is gone, still perceiving environments as unsafe. For those spending time around the victims, Zaldivar suggests moving slowly and avoiding making loud noises.

For those who were victims, she suggests: 1. breathing at a controlled pace to reduce stress hormones; 2. staying with close family and friends for a sense of support; 3. understanding that it’s OK to validate the experience by sharing it with others. Zaldivar says it’s important not to hesitate in seeking professional support from a counselor, as “addressing and debriefing traumatic events early can help prevent future painful and problematic long-term symptoms.”