(WKBN) — Coming within weeks of the student shooting at the Lowellville Schools and then the mass-casualty incident in Buffalo, local mental health experts worry Tuesday’s shooting at a Texas elementary school could trigger emotions among people in this area.
“When you see it and you see the parents grieving, we’re all human and we grieve with them and it’s just so traumatic and so those emotions come up,” said Duane Piccirilli with Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery Board.
The shooting in Uvalde left at least nineteen children — all in one classroom — and two teachers dead as well as the gunman himself. Piccirilli said it’s important to reach out to those who may be having a hard time coping including young children who may be close in age to those who were shot.
“Kids are resilient but don’t be afraid to talk to them because they’re thinking about it,” said Piccirilli.
Piccirilli said the loss of a child can be especially painful and those parents may need help dealing with this latest tragedy.
“Ask them about it. Talk to them about it. Say the child’s name. They love to hear the child’s name because people don’t talk about that,” said Piccirilli.
For those having trouble coping, Piccirilli said there are a number of local agencies that can help both adults and children, including Compass Family & Community Services for adults at 330-480-4384, Alta Behavioral Healthcare for children at 330-793-2487 and Help Network at 330-747-2696 for people of all ages.
“You can call them if you’re a family member, if you’re an employer and say ‘Hey, I’m seeing this. What should I do? What are the next steps I should do?'” said Piccirilli.
In the end, Piccirilli said reaching out to ask if someone is okay or offering a hug can make a huge difference.
One of the candidates running for Ohio Governor in November also weighed in on Tuesday’s mass shooting in Texas.
Democrat Nan Whaley was Mayor of Dayton in 2019 when a gunman opened fire, shooting three dozen people — nine of them died.
She said the shooting in Uvalde, Texas is now conjuring up terrible memories of that horrible day along with anger and frustration that more lives have been lost.
“And I feel too for the people in Dayton that are going through this every single time. The families of Sandy Hook and the families of Parkland and the families of Pittsburgh. Over and over and over again and frankly…My sadness turns to anger ’cause it just doesn’t have to be this way,” said Whaley.
Whaley said lawmakers need to pass gun reforms requiring universal background checks and what she calls “extreme risk protection orders” to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them.
“And I want my freedom too. I want to be able to go to a grocery store without having to worry about this. Be able to worship without having to worry about this. That my niece and nephew can go to school without thinking about this every day. That’s the freedom that families deserve,” said Whaley.
First News did reach out to incumbent Governor Mike DeWine for his views but he was not available.