CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — In the wake of the Walmart mass shooting in Chesapeake, 10 On Your Side is reporting on places where those impacted can get counseling.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 provides immediate crisis counseling to anyone who is seeking help in coping with the mental or emotional effects of the mass shooting.
Counselors are available 24/7 to respond to people who need crisis counseling after experiencing a traumatic event or a disaster.
Counselors are trained to offer support to people who may be experiencing a range of symptoms.
“People who have been through a traumatic event can experience anxiety, worry or insomnia,” said Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use and the leader of SAMHSA.
The Helpline immediately connects callers to trained and caring professionals from the nearest crisis counseling center in the nationwide network of centers.
“There can be some remorse or guilt. The fact they saw co-workers or people that they know as friends are victims of this crime, and they were spared in some way. Sometimes people experience some guilt,” Erik Hierholzer of SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services said.
The helpline staff provides confidential counseling, referrals and other needed support services. Spanish-speakers can press “2” for bilingual support.
Callers can also connect with counselors in more than 100 other languages via third-party interpretation services by indicating their preferred language to the responding counselor.
A videophone option with direct crisis counseling and support for deaf or hard-of-hearing American Sign Language users is also available.
Disaster survivors and responders can connect with trained DDH crisis workers fluent in ASL by dialing 1-800-985-5990 from a videophone-enabled device or via an “ASL Now” link accessible at DisasterDistress.samhsa.gov. More on the Helpline can be found at https://www.disasterdistress.samhsa.gov/.