The tragic events of the Denver movie theater shooting last month have left many citizens shocked, scared, and wondering how such an incident can occur in our world today. Research has shown that the surviving victims themselves and their families will face even more emotional conflict in the future, namely from the risk of depression which could lead to a substance abuse problem.
The causes of depression are still relatively unknown, except for the fact that depression runs in families and that it can follow tragedy or emotional loss. Situations involving violence, fear, and death are likely to leave victims scarred long after the threat is over. It is important to be aware of the risk of depression and other mental illness for victims, in order to provide them with the most effective treatment when necessary.
Life History's Impact
Everyone reacts to a tragic situation in their own way. Some people are more resilient in adversity, and others will be more prone to developing depression from an incident like the Denver shooting.
A study done by researchers at UCLA showed that individuals who suffer trauma in childhood are more likely to be more severely affected by a negative experience later in life. This is because someone who suffers adversity early in life often develops negative thoughts about themselves and the world around them. These thoughts are a precursor to depression later in life. Therefore, we should be especially concerned about the young surviving victims in the movie theater shooting, because this event has the potential to have more of an impact on the individuals later in life.
Help for the Broken
Anyone who experiences a tragic event where lives are in danger or lost should get help from a counselor or therapist. Even if it is just to talk out their feelings, seeing a professional can help weed through the emotions caused by the experience and can help prevent depression.
Depression is often called the silent epidemic. Many people suffer with it on their own, not getting help until it is too late. It is important for us to do more to diagnose and treat depression. We need to offer the families of the victims, the surviving victims, and their community comfort and support in the wake of the shooting. These victims need to understand why they are feeling what they are feeling, and know that they can recover from this disaster without going into drugs or alcohol.