Virginia Tech Tragedy: Coping with Trauma
“We cannot say with certainty that this tragedy could have been avoided,” said A. Kathryn
Power, M.Ed., Director of SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services.
Referring to the fatal shootings of 33 students and faculty on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic
Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) in April, Ms. Power added, “We do know that
communities can address many challenges when their members work together and have the means to
To help communities respond, SAMHSA has posted a wide range of diverse resources and information
on the Agency Web site that provide detailed information on how to cope and provide assistance
with traumatic events such as the one at Virginia Tech.
In addition, the SAMHSA-funded National Child Traumatic Stress Network recently posted the second
edition of Psychological First Aid: Field Operations Guide, as well as other related
information. (See Psychological First Aid.)
“We know that early intervention and prevention can stop mental illnesses from escalating,” Ms.
Power added. “SAMHSA can help communities reach out to those among them who need mental
A partial list of resources is available below. For a complete listing, visit the SAMHSA Web
site at www.samhsa.gov.
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Tools for Surviving Grief
One- to three-page tip sheets from SAMHSA provide guidance to survivors, parents, educators,
and emergency-response personnel. Tip sheets include:
“Tips for College Students: In the Wake of Trauma”
“Tips for Survivors of a Traumatic Event: Managing Your Stress”
“Tips for Survivors of a Traumatic Event: What to Expect in Your Personal, Family, Work, and Financial Life”
“How to Deal with Grief.”
Visit SAMHSA’s Web site at www.samhsa.gov/MentalHealth/understanding_Mentalllness.aspx to download individual documents in PDF format.
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Understanding Mental Illness, Reducing Stigma
SAMHSA offers several online links with information on mental illnesses and the importance of
The SAMHSA Web site also includes a link to Report to the President: On Issues Raised by the Virginia Tech Tragedy, issued June 13, 2007, by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). For complete details, visit www.samhsa.gov/trauma/index.aspx or visit the HHS Web site at www.hhs.gov/secretary/violence.html.
For more information about the Virginia Tech tragedy, visit www.vt.edu/remember. For more information about mental health, visit SAMHSA's Web site at www.mentalhealth.samhsa.gov.
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