Connecticut Psychiatric Society issues tips in wake of Newtown

The Observer received this email from the Connecticut Psychiatric Society:

Connecticut Psychiatric Society Provides Mental Health Resources for Those Impacted by

the Shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School

[Bloomfield, CT] – The Connecticut Psychiatric Society (CPS) expresses its deepest sympathies

to all those affected by the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut

on Friday, December 14, 2012.

This tragedy can have a tremendous psychological impact on all those directly and indirectly

affected. It is normal to experience a wide range of mental or emotional reactions, from sadness,

stress and anxiety to more severe mental illness such as post traumatic stress disorder, ongoing

anxiety disorders or depression.

“This is a very difficult time for everyone involved. Our immediate concerns are for the safety

and well-being of those affected and volunteers who are helping with this tragedy,” said John

Santopietro, M.D., President. “Traumatic events affect survivors, rescue workers and the friends

and relatives of victims who have been involved. As psychiatrists, we understand the school

shooting will cause significant distress and pose potential threats to the mental health of all those

involved. It is important for everyone to know that help is available and treatment does work.”

CPS members are working in Newtown at the request of the coordinating agencies. Any other

cities or town in need of mental health services or consultations are welcome to call the CPS

office at 860-243-3977 to explore setting up a program either in the short or long term.

The CPS and the American Psychiatric Association recommend following these steps for coping

in the days following this traumatic event:

1. Keep informed about new information and developments, but avoid overexposure to

news rebroadcasts of the tragedy. Be sure to use credible information sources to avoid

speculation and rumors.

2. If you feel anxious, angry or sad, you are not alone. Talk to friends, family or peers who

likely are experiencing the same feelings.

3. If you have contact with children, keep open dialogues with them regarding their fears of

danger. Talk about your ability to cope with tragedy and get through the ordeal.

4. Feelings of anxiety and sadness following a traumatic event are natural. If these

symptoms continue, even after order has been restored, or if these feelings begin to

overwhelm you or your child, seek the advice of a psychiatric physician or other mental

health professional in your local community.

For additional information about mental health issues including PTSD, anxiety and depression,

visit the APA’s public education website at For information

on the CPS and additional resources, visit

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