Processing Trauma After Incidents Of Mass Violence

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - With traumatic experiences like the Waffle House shooting happening more often, doctors have to be prepared for patients who survived. Trauma informed care can help that healing process.

In the last eight months, Nashville has had two mass shootings, and just last week, hundreds of screaming people rushed out of a mall where gun fire broke out.

That's why health care professionals like Dr. Mari Ross-Alexander and Dr. Alicia Hall are concerned.

"Usually weeks and months later is where the trauma actually affects them, if they haven't talked with a professional who can help walk them through it," said Dr. Ross-Alexander, a psychotherapist.

That's where trauma informed care comes in.

The treatment of trauma involves understanding, recognizing, and responding to the effects of all types of trauma. Sometimes that life-changing experience can even cause physical health problems.

"There are health-related disorders that we know are related to stress that can cause inflammation in the body and cause a breakdown of our normal bodily systems," said Dr. Hall, a board certified family medicine physician. 

The two believe integration is the key.

"Once we start talking and we start brainstorming for whatever we're seeing, usually we get it right," said Dr. Ross-Alexander.

The doctors are hoping by working together, they can begin to help survivors heal and possibly prevent other tragedies by being proactive.

"Maybe we can be proactive in screening if someone's at risk of performing some sort of horrific incident like this," said Dr. Hall.

By the end of the year, a group of healthcare professionals in Nashville are holding a physician summit to share more about trauma informed care.

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