Central Oregon Daily▶️ Mental health professionals on impacts of Safeway shooting video release

▶️ Mental health professionals on impacts of Safeway shooting video release

▶️ Mental health professionals on impacts of Safeway shooting video release

▶️ Mental health professionals on impacts of Safeway shooting video release

After the Bend Police Department’s release Thursday of the surveillance video from the Safeway shooting that took the lives of two community members on August 28, local mental health providers are offering extra support. 

It’s a chance for people to decide for themselves whether or not to watch the disturbing footage.

“I think when people see this, that it will have an impact. And I think being prepared for that is super important,” said Kevin Shaw, LCSW, the Owner and Founder of Brightways Counseling Group. 

He said that in the days following the tragedy, the mental impacts on their clients were visible. 

“What we did see is not just an increase in wanting to get in, but people who were already being seen, it instantly had an impact on treatment,” Shaw said. “All of a sudden, this is something new, immediate, close to home. And in some cases they can set people back because it can reframe people’s perspective of what is safe, and what is meaning in life for them. So this can be very disturbing.”

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Tara Hare, LPC, the North County Hub Supervisor with Deschutes County Behavioral Health Services, said they saw around 100 people come through their Community Assistance Center they provided in the days following the shooting. 

“Whether you heard about it in the news or in the media, finding out about a traumatic event of any kind, where, like I said, whether you’re a direct witness to it or whether you’re watching it on replay, it has an impact differently for each person because each of us have come into that situation with different things happening in our own lives,” Hare said. 

With the release of the surveillance footage, the risk for re-traumatization is high. 

“I think for any of us, we need to check where we are at, what’s going on or what has gone on in our own lives,” Hare said. “This can be a really hard time of year anyway. And so you add in having the opportunity to watch and rewatch a traumatizing or re-traumatizing potentially video is important to consider where you’re at, what resources you already have in place to connect with and support you.” 

She said people should take note if they are experiencing flashbacks, increased indulgence in self-destructive habits, or challenges with sleep, as they could be signs of emotional triggering. 

Behavioral Health will be offering additional supports Friday through Sunday from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Stabilization Center at 63311 NE Jamison Street in Bend. 

“We’ll have additional support staff who are trained in using a crisis assistance stress management model,” Hare said. 

Shaw said it’s important to validate any feelings you may have if you choose to watch the footage. 

“Just don’t don’t say, ‘get over it, you got to move on,’” he said. “Give yourself an opportunity to understand that that is a tough thing to watch. And the other thing is, is to do the things that you’ve always done that have helped you feel good. If you’re involved in being outdoors, you know, go for a walk, do something outdoors, and and then always keep a kind of a positive mindset of things that are positive that are happening in our world today.”

Mental health tools to help with coping are important, but there is always another option. 

“Keep in mind that you don’t have to watch the video,” Shaw said. “And if you do watch it, you don’t have to keep watching it over and over again. You are in control of what comes into your mind and your thoughts and into your life.” 

When asked if he had personally seen the footage, he said, “I’m afraid to watch the video. I feel like that I have to take my own advice. I have to think about making sure that I validate myself as is going to be hard. And then I have kids. I have to think about being prepared to talk to my little one about it, and we used to live right next to that Safeway, and so definitely I’ve got my own work cut out for me.” 

“If you know that this has a potential to be really impactful to you, then consider if now’s the time or if any time you don’t have to watch it,” Hare added. 

She did watch the video, she said, because she wanted to know what the community would be going through. 

“Honestly, if I had the choice, I just wouldn’t watch any of those videos and not sure it’s the most helpful,” she said. 

For more information about the mental health services provided by the county for the rest of this week and year-round, visit Deschutes County Mental Health Recommended Resources | Deschutes County Oregon.

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