VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — More than a week since the tragedy in Virginia Beach that claimed 12 innocent lives, the community is still healing.
The mass shooting has long lasting and far reaching effects. Families are torn apart and communities are mourning. A tragedy like this can take a toll on many aspects of your life, including your mental health.
There are resources to help, but not everyone has access to them or knows where to start. That is where Virginia Beach native Ryan Thompson comes in.
“The long term effect of doing nothing is just more of this,” he said. “I think there is a stigma in society that people don’t want to go to therapy and they feel tougher than that, but I think everyone should embrace mental health and see the challenge there and work towards seeing somebody and talking about it,” he added
That is why he is using his nonprofit, Campus Awareness Coast 2 Coast, to raise money and help give to those affected by the shooting.
Thompson started this foundation after another well known tragedy.
“Virginia Tech is like home to me, and having a mass shooting at Virginia Tech really struck home to me and you have to do something about it and not just sit back and not respond,” the Virginia Tech alumnus said.
So any money raised will go towards mental health recovery. “Basically people with severe depression, anxiety or have a tendency to lash out at others, maybe have a little lack of empathy, and we’re here to help them go through counseling and hopefully come out on the other end with less violence in our communities and our schools,” he said.
On Wednesday, he and his organization are hosting a fundraiser at Chichos in Virginia Beach from 4 to 10 p.m. for the longterm recovery of anyone affected by the shooting.
“All the proceeds are going to stay in Virginia Beach, and this community, and Hampton Roads community for the month of June.”
Thompson now lives in San Diego, but says he will never forget his roots and always comes back in times of need
“I think it is just social, you know responsibility on everyone’s part to assist during these tragedies and help everyone recover,” he said.
For more information on the fundraiser and the organization, click here: https://www.facebook.com/CampusAwarenessCoast2Coast/