Experts give advice for dealing with grief after tragedy

- As many hearts worldwide break for the Orlando shooting victims, health experts advise, so-called survivor's guilt is a sentiment not only felt by those who made it out of Pulse nightclub alive, but also for people who have watched the tragedy unfold in the media.

"You're not there, but your body is still experiencing the adrenaline surges, the emotions... If you think about social media, print media, TV, radio, it becomes almost, what we call a vicarious trauma," explained Clara Reynolds, president of the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay.

Reynolds said dealing with those painful emotions can be a challenge for people if they don't admit to themselves they are having difficulty coping.

In addition to seeking help, Reynolds said people must decide for themselves when it's best to disconnect from media coverage of a tragedy.

"If you're feeling overwhelmed by what's going on, really try to limit the amount of exposure that you're getting," said Reynolds.

She said gathering reliable information and focusing on facts can also help to alleviate some of the fear.

Additionally, children can be especially vulnerable during traumatic events.

Health experts advise parents to ask their children if they have questions and answer those questions honestly, without getting into great detail. Most importantly, parents should reassure their children they are safe.

"Remind them, 'I'm the grown up. I'm the parent. My job is to make you safe, and I'm really good at my job,'" explained Reynolds. "You can almost visibly watch the kids [sigh in relief and think] 'OK, I'm going to be OK.'"

She added, an important part of moving forward after a tragedy is getting back into a daily routine, rather than living in fear.

"We've got to put these incidents in context. We go to the movies every single day, we go to the mall every single day, and luckily, we don't hear about these huge mass casualties, these huge mass traumas happening every single day. We have to remember to put this into perspective," said Reynolds.

Anyone needing someone to talk to can reach the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay by calling 211. It is a national phone line that will connect people with someone who can help them if dialed anywhere in the country.

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