I want to address the events that took place last night at Michigan State University. In short, a tragedy of this magnitude undoubtedly affects all of us. The proximity of what happened and the likelihood that some of us might be directly affected in some way is significant. Although my thoughts and prayers are with everyone today, I am not certain that offering thoughts, prayers and condolences is enough. Certainly, things need to change. Even if we cannot change the world around us as quickly as it probably should, perhaps the best we can do today is help someone who is having difficulty here and now. I do believe that actions we take matter in the big picture.
Personally, I believe that the work that each of you do on a daily basis will contribute to positive changes in the world moving forward. I sincerely hope that each of you believe that your efforts do matter. The ripple effect of your actions will positively affect another person’s future down the road. We are in a field where we have the opportunity to help educate, prevent and provide comfort for those who are suffering or struggling in some way.
There is a great deal of strength, wisdom and support at MSP. We must lean on one another as needed. Your work and dedication are deeply appreciated on a day like this. As an institution, we will continually try to evaluate how we can get better at what we do.
Below are some resources from the APA that may be helpful to you as we navigate the effects of this tragedy. Please do not hesitate to connect with me personally if there is anything I can do to help.
Dr. Brian Spitsbergen
APA offers tools and guidance to help those who are suffering distress:
- Managing your distress in the aftermath of a shooting
Taking the steps in this guide can help you cope during this very difficult time.
- Helping your children manage distress in the aftermath of a shooting
Parents can struggle with how to talk with children about a shooting. Here are ways to help you have those conversations with children of all ages.
- How to talk to children about difficult news
Tips for parents and other caregivers on how to guide the conversation in a proactive and supportive way.
- Talking to kids when they need help
How to open the lines of communication and build trust.
- Stress of mass shootings causing cascade of collective traumas
The regularity of mass shootings is razing Americans’ mental health—heightening stress and dulling compassion in ways that demand broader concern, engagement, and change.
- Empowering communities to prevent mass shootings
Psychology research is informing new strategies to reach people at risk of committing a violent act.
Additional resources can be found on MSP’s blog on Coping with Violence.