Support offered to those affected by Dr. Graham's death

Published: Jul. 27, 2017 at 7:00 PM EDT
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South Bend Orthopedics, across the street from yesterday's shooting, is closed for the day. Thursday, employees were encouraged to come in for counseling at the offices.

And after hearing the gruesome details about their colleague, they'll need that more than ever.

Dr. Erin Leonard says after yesterday's shooting, even if someone didn't know Todd Graham or see the shooting, just being in that lockdown situation while everything was happening can still have some traumatic effects on the brain.

"They really minimize the involvement that they had or the experience they had because it wasn't directly, it wasn't a direct tauma, but it wasn't a primary trauma," Leonard said. "Secondary trauma's tough."

Unfortunately in those situations, there is no way to minimize the trauma your body is taking.

"Because your body kind of takes over," Leonard said. "Physiologically, your adrennaline starts to pump, your heart beat obviously increases, your breathing rate increases. So your body responds physiologically to emotional trauma and psycological trauma."

She says it's important to deal with that trauma immediately, before it leads to long-term effects like PTSD and depression.

"That's a very difficult thing to deal with," Leonard said. "So if they're talking about this and they're reprocessing the trauma, and getting support and then centering grounding work like mind body activities, yoga, tai chi, meditation. If they are able to do those things then they can really mitigate the impact of the trauma."

On top of that, these employees need to go back the the site of the trauma when it opens back up. So when they do that she recommends taking things slow and talking about your trauma to ease the transition.

That is exactly what they're doing at the counseling held at South Bend Orthopedics. The hospital also held a prayer vigil at noon Thursday, which is another good way to ease the trauma.

Sometimes trauma can be triggered by sights, sounds, and smells, sometimes unrelated to the incident itself. So when you're back in that environment, don't push yourself and as for help if you need it.

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