County Seat Newspaper
of Clare County

Managing Your Distress in the Aftermath of a Shooting


 MIDLAND, Mich. – Earlier this week, a mass shooting occurred at Michigan State University. Although some are resilient and often bounce back after difficult times, these events nearly always interrupt an individual’s sense of order and safety. This is especially true when the event is human-caused with the intent of harming others. Over time, the caring support of family and friends can help lessen the emotional impact and ultimately make the changes brought about by the tragedy more manageable.

If you, like many others, are wondering how to go on living your daily life, there are ways to strengthen your resilience – the ability to adapt well in the face of adversity – in the days and weeks ahead.

Samantha Howley-Anderson, L.M.S.W., a behavioral health therapist at MyMichigan Health, suggests talking about it. “When you connect with others, you can find safety and solidarity in how you collectively feel,” she said. “Ask for support from people who care about you and who will listen to your concerns. Receiving support can be comforting and reassuring. It often helps to speak with others who have shared your experience, so you do not feel so different or alone.”

While it’s normal to have increased anxiety while processing disturbing, tragic news, Howley-Anderson recommends paying close attention to your mental health, and keeping in mind that a wide range of feelings during these difficult times are common.

“When we’re going through something hard, it’s very common to put mental health at the bottom of the priority list,” said Howley-Anderson. “Make sure that you are getting rest, exercise and nourishment to help your body deal with stress. Try to limit or avoid alcohol and drugs, because they can suppress your feelings rather than help you manage and lessen your distress.”

In addition, Howley-Anderson suggests decreasing exposure to social media and the news to help limit stress.

“If you have lost friends or family in this or other tragedies, remember that grief is a process,” she said. “Give yourself time to experience your feelings and to recover. Dealing with the shock and the trauma of such an event will take time.”

For many people, using the tips and strategies mentioned above may be enough to get through the current crisis. At times, an individual can get stuck or have difficulty managing intense reactions. A licensed mental health professional can help you in developing an appropriate strategy for moving forward. It is important to get professional help if you feel like you are unable to function or perform basic activities of daily living.

MyMichigan Health offers comprehensive behavioral health services from outpatient one-on-one therapy, intense outpatient programs to meet the need of older adults, to partial hospitalization program and inpatient services. A complete list of services can be viewed at

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide or experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis, 988 provides connection to free, confidential support. Just call, text or chat 988.

MyMichigan Health, a non-profit health system headquartered in Midland, Michigan, is a leader in providing award-winning, high-quality care to the 25-county region it serves. With Medical Centers in Alma, Alpena, Clare, Gladwin, Midland, Mt. Pleasant, Sault Ste. Marie and West Branch, MyMichigan also has affiliations with Medical Centers in St. Ignace* and Mackinac Island*. MyMichigan Health provides a full continuum of care across a wide array of settings, including urgent care centers, home health, virtual care, as well as medical offices in more than 30 specialties and subspecialties including cardiology, family medicine, hematology/oncology, neurosciences, orthopedics, pediatrics, vascular surgery, and more. MyMichigan Health demonstrates its commitment to the future of medicine by partnering with leading institutions to offer medical education programs that train medical students, physicians, nurse practitioner and physician assistant students, nursing students and other clinical experts for our region. Recognized by Forbes in 2022 as one of ‘America’s Best Employers by State,’ MyMichigan is a major employer in all of the areas it serves. In fact, its more than 10,180 employees, volunteers, health care providers and other personnel work together to create healthy communities through solutions designed to meet the ever-changing needs of the 981,000 residents in the health system’s 25-county service area. In fiscal year 2022, MyMichigan Health provided $132 million in community benefits, as well as supported its patients and families with new equipment, services and programs with funds raised by the MyMichigan Health Foundation.


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