Wednesday's mass shooting in Lewiston is emotionally taxing on all Maine residents, so counselors are standing by to help, with a phone call or a text.

It's Such a Scary Situation for All of Us

Maine is reeling after a mass shooting in Lewiston that left 18 people dead and injured 13 others. Some of those 13 are fighting for their lives in hospitals while police swarm the area, trying to find the suspect, Robert Card. The knowledge that the man allegedly responsible for the shootings is still on the loose is prompting businesses to close and parents to keep their children at home. Even as I write this, I can feel my chest tightening and my attention wandering as my emotions struggle to cope.

How Do We Know If We're Stressed?

It's happening to all of us, in one way or another. Months ago I interviewed Dr. Anthony Ng of Northern Light Health about coping with mass casualty events. He explained that people react differently and that some may not even realize they're struggling. So it's important for all of us to pay attention to our emotions in the coming days and allow ourselves to grieve, get angry, or cry...whatever we need to find our way through this. Sometimes, what we need, is to step away from all the information and just 'be.'

Dr. Ng spoke out about the Lewiston shooting, encouraging people to talk about it if they're feeling anxious.

Talk to a friend, reach out to family members, or call your own primary care physician. Together, we will pull through this terrible moment in Maine's history and support one another when it's needed most.

Northern Light Acadia Hospital has set up a website listing helpful resources for people who are struggling to cope.

What Can We Do To Feel Better?

He said that if you're starting to feel overwhelmed, you should reach out. Talk to a friend, contact a loved one, or chat with a coworker. Find ways to separate yourself from all the information, if it's becoming too much, and take a walk or watch your favorite TV show. Take care of yourself and others around you. If someone is acting out of character, be patient with them. Ask them what they're feeling. And listen.

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Governor Janet Mills announced during a news conference on Thursday that counselors are available to listen 24/7. All you have to do to access them is to call or text 988. The calls are confidential so there's no need to worry about reaching out. It's okay to not be okay. In addition, a website has been set up with resources that can help.

If you're feeling that you want to do something more proactive, in the coming days, consider donating blood. The American Red Cross was already dealing with a shortage and will welcome your contribution. Find information about how to donate on the American Red Cross website.

We're Mainers and we're strong. We'll get through this together. Our prayers go out to all those directly affected by this tragedy, including the members of law enforcement who are working around the clock to keep us safe.

Shooting in Lewiston 10/25/23

Gallery Credit: Dan Alexander

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