Today fifty men and women will not return home to their family and friends. Today fifty-three lay injured in hospital beds while their families and friends pray waiting for the outcome that could change the rest of their lives. All of this heartbreak and destruction lay in the hands of one man, Omar Mateen. Today Orlando faced the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history as well as the largest terrorist attack since 911 leaving fifty dead, fifty-three injured, and millions of hearts broken nation wide.

As you look around you will see flags at half-staff, good Samaritans donating blood, and millions of Americans donating money to help this destruction. You will see people holding their loved ones a little tighter, looking to their faith for answers, and coming together as a country to cope with this catastrophe. It is important to remember this is not only a tragedy for the city of Orlando, Florida but this is also a tragedy for the United States as a whole. Not only are we mourning the loss of today’s loved ones but now looking with anxiety toward the future. It is important in every crisis to keep your mental health and anxiety in check to better cope with fears surrounding terrorism. You can help make a difference in your mental health during times of crisis as well as the mental health of those around you with these simple steps.

1. Talk with your loved ones.

It is important to process your emotions instead of letting them build up. Be sure to take the time to talk with a loved one about your fears, your thoughts, and your mindset regarding today’s attacks. Also, be sure to ask your loved ones their thoughts and emotions. This allows you to process emotions and grieve in a healthy manner as well as realize you are not alone in your fears and reservations for the future.

2. Limit your media exposure.

Yes, it is important to know what is going on in the world around you and keep updates on how your fellow citizens are doing, however, do not let the media saturate your life. Be sure to get off Facebook, and turn off the news and do something you love like reading a good book, and going for a walk. By doing this you will not let your brain become obsessed with the matter and in turn raise your anxiety levels to an unhealthy level.

3. Do your part to make a change.

In times of crisis it’s important to do your part in helping no matter how large or how small. Give blood, or donate money to the cause. If this is not an option, lend an ear to a survivor, or a victim’s family, or even someone else in the area anxious about the event. By donating your time you are allowing yourself to feel as though you have more control of the situation and more control of your emotions.

So what’s next for Orlando and America as a whole?  Stay strong and remember you are not alone.  America will mourn together and this will be an event that will never be forgotten.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help, everyone around you is fighting the same battle. United we will stand so we can move on as a stronger country.

Author: Danielle Hackett

Danielle is a senior at the University of Central Florida majoring in Psychology and minoring in Crime, Law, and Deviance. Danielle has a passion for research and helping people. Danielle’s goal is to obtain a Masters degree in I/O Psychology and to specialize in improving quality of life at work since that is where people dedicate such a large portion of their time. In Danielle’s free time she spends time with those most important to her, family, friends, and horses.