At lunch today, a friend asked me if we go to disaster areas when there has been a shooting. I explained to her that disasters are a time that communities come together.

The immediate response can be overwhelming and outsiders can be more of a burden than help unless invited to come in as a special expert. Part of coping with the event is for the community to come together.

It has been my experience that when events are planned by outsiders you end up with the out of towners presenting to and supporting one another. Families and friends tend to turn to one another for support, especially in the early days.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Send financial support to sites recommend by local disaster relief agencies.
  • Don’t send clothes, toys, or other articles, especially used items. Volunteers have to spend hours sorting it out.
  • Educate yourself so you can help others in your own neighborhood.
  • Volunteer locally.
  • Don’t spread rumors
  • Reassure your children that it is a safe world.
  • Take a news break.

Also, you can visit our Open to Hope website. Here, you can access online support at your convenience on a 24/7 basis. The support includes a wealth of information, including articles and videos, designed to provide you with coping strategies, positive messages, proactive advice, and hope.

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Gloria Horsley

Dr. Gloria Horsley is an internationally known grief expert, psychotherapist, and bereaved parent. She started "Open to Hope" to help the millions in the world with grief. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Clinical Nurse Specialist, and has worked in the field of family therapy for over 20 years. Dr. Horsley hosts the syndicated internet radio show, The Grief Blog which is one of the top ranked shows on Health Voice America. She serves the Compassionate Friends in a number of roles including as a Board of Directors, chapter leader, workshop facilitator, and frequently serves as media spokesperson. Dr. Horsley is often called on to present seminars throughout the country. She has made appearances on numerous television and radio programs including "The Today Show," "Montel Williams," and "Sallie Jessie Raphael." In addition, she has authored a number of articles and written several books including Teen Grief Relief with Dr. Heidi Horlsey, and The In-Law Survival Guide.

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