While everyone is disturbed by such a sudden and terrible set of events, some may feel and react to the news more intensely than others. Reactions may be exacerbated as stories emerge about the horrific attacks and we learn more about the details of the violence and the personal stories of victims and their families. As memorials occur, we are exposed to the grief and raw reactions of survivors and grieving families. Events become more personal. Some of the people for whom this might trigger a heightened level of grief, stress, or anxiety include:

  •  People who were involved in the event – Survivors, employees, family members and friends of the deceased and survivors. First responders, health care professionals, fire, police and EMTs who have had direct relation to the event or to providing care and support for victims and their families.
  •  People with a connection to the events – This would encompass members of the Orlando community and members of LGBT community nationwide. It would also encompass people of the Islamic faith who may feel sadness, grief or fear of retribution because the alleged perpetrator was Islamic.
  •  People who have been a victim of violence themselves – This might encompass people who were prior victims of violence or assault, people who were held hostage, people who have been part of mass or random shootings, or people who lost loved ones to random violence. The events might rekindle memories, grief, loss, fear and heightened anxiety.
  • People who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – This might include victims of 9/11, survivors of other shootings, veterans, or many others who experienced trauma and are not able to get beyond it. The events might trigger heightened memories, fear, anxiety, anger, stress, or disruption of eating or sleeping habits, among other things.
  •  Children and young people. Violent events can be particularly frightening to children. The sudden and random nature of events may be terribly upsetting and threatening to a child’s sense of security. Some children may be intensely fearful of their own safety or the safety of loved ones.

Responding to events

Be sensitive to others and how they experience events. People handle stress and grief differently, and we don’t always know what experiences others have had that might intensify a reaction. While some may hear such news and move on, others need time to process and react. Don’t assume everyone feels things the same way that you do – be sensitive to those around you and let them express their feelings.

    Limit exposure to gruesome details in the news. The 24-hour nature of social media and cable news mean that we can be bombarded with nonstop news and disturbing images of a disastrous event. This continual exposure can exacerbate anxiety, fear and grief.

  Take positive action. When violent events occur, it can shake our faith and trust in our fellow man. Counter these feeling by spending time with family and friends. It can also help to do something to reduce the feelings of helplessness that many experience in the face of such events: Help others. Give blood. Organize or take part in a memorial activity. Write letters. Make a donation. Volunteer.

Consider counseling. If you or somebody else is having a particularly hard time coping with these events, counseling with a professional may be in order. Signs that you or a loved one may need help getting past this might include sleeplessness, heightened anxiety or phobias, and preoccupation with details of events.

Orlando Resources

The City of Orlando’s crisis hotline is being used for people looking for family members. The number is (407) 246-4357.

Orlando Sentinel – Live Updates

Donate blood: Blood Donation and oneblood

The Center Orlando – – The Center’s goal is promoting and empowering the GLBT Community and its allies through information, education, advocacy and support. From their site, they describe resources available for anyone who has been affected, or anyone who is experiencing grief from this senseless tragedy. Call or come by if you need to talk, or just need to be near someone.

  • Grief Counselors for the coming weeks
  • A Crisis Hotline at 407-227-1446
  • Food and Goods Donations
  • Financial Support for the victims and their families

Equality Florida, a LGBT group, has launched a GoFundMe page to raise money for victims of the massacre.

Pictures: World supports Orlando after nightclub shooting

21 Things You Can Do While You’re Living Through a Traumatic Experience


Additional LGBT Resources

PTSD and Coping with Violence Resources

Resources for Parents

Resources for First Responders

HR Resources


Request a Quote