General Disaster Response and Recovery Information

Incidents of Mass Violence

The violent act that occurred in Lewiston has been deeply distressing for so many. As we start to see the personal and heartfelt stories of the victims it is normal to experience emotional distress. Feelings such as overwhelming anxiety, trouble sleeping, and other depression-like symptoms are common responses to incidents of mass violence. Other signs of emotional distress related to incidents of mass violence may include:

  • Feeling numb or like nothing matters
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Having unexplained aches and pains, such as constant stomachaches or headaches
  • Constant worrying; feeling guilty but not sure why
  • Feeling like you must keep busy
  • Excessive smoking, drinking, or using drugs – including prescribed medications


Who is at Risk for Emotional Distress?

People at risk for emotional distress because of incidents of mass violence include:

  • Survivors. Injured victims as well as bystanders near the event are especially at risk for emotional distress.
  • Friends and loved ones. It is normal for friends and family members located outside the impacted area to feel anxious about people who are in direct proximity to an incident of mass violence.
  • First responders and recovery workers. These individuals may experience prolonged separation from loved ones during the incident and show signs of mental fatigue.
  • Community members. People who live the area surrounding the event may experience emotional distress.

If a terror alert, lockdown notice, or other warning is issued via television, radio, social media, or text alert systems, the risk for emotional distress becomes greater. It is normal to feel scared, unprepared, overwhelmed, or confused.

If you have experienced the death of a friend or loved one—or if you or a loved one has been exposed to community violence—feelings of grief and anger are a normal reaction. If these feelings become too difficult there is help available.

The Wabanaki Care Line is available 24/7 – Call or Text 1-844-844-2622

Disaster Distress Helpline – 1-800-985-5990EXT: TalkWithUs to 66746

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Toll-Free: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)