'We want to normalize conversations about mental health at the dinner table,' ADAMHS spokesperson says
Mental health experts urge residents to talk about their trauma in the wake of a recent shooting in Beavercreek at Walmart.
The fatal Walmart shooting in Beavercreek joins other large traumatic events impacting our community. In May 2019, deadly tornadoes ripped through the Dayton area. Three months later, a man opens fire in a bar — killing nine people and wounding 17 others. WYSO’s Kathryn Mobley spoke with Tina Rezash-Rogal from the Montgomery County Alcohol, Drug Addiction, & Mental Health Services. The spokesperson says a key to reducing the social stigma around mental health issues is to openly talk about them.
Tina Rezash-Rogal: We want to normalize conversations about mental health at the dinner table. So when you are having dinner with your family on Thanksgiving or if you're with your family over the weekend watching football, we want it to be normal to say, 'Hey, how are you? How are you doing?' And really mean it when you're asking that question and opening the door for your family and friends to share openly if they're struggling.
Kathryn Mobley: Is it possible there's going to be a rippling effect, sort of a fallout as a result of this Walmart shooting that will go beyond shoppers and employees who were actually in the store on Monday night? That it could actually have a triggering effect on other individuals in our community who have been quietly suffering with trauma from other experiences?
Rezash-Rogal: Well, Kathryn, we know at a time when you have a supercomputer in your hand and you're getting terrible news from all over the world in an instant. We are traumatized daily by what we're seeing and what we're hearing on the news. And if you have a history of trauma in your life, these things definitely can can cause you to relive those instances of trauma.
Sadly, we here in the Miami Valley have experienced our share of trauma. You could be an individual who was in the organ district back during that mass shooting. You could be an individual who experienced trauma during our tornadoes that swept through our area in 2019. You could be a person dealing with any unknown traumas and see the news and be very upset by what you saw.
Mobley: Tina, describe the various mental health resources that are available in our community.
Rezash-Rogal: We have 988 which we encourage people to call if they're experiencing a mental health crisis surrounding this recent shooting. We have a crisis text line and all you have to do is text the word 'hello' to 741741 and you can text what you're feeling and get support that way as well.
Another wonderful resource we have, Adam is in partnership with Goodwill. Easterseals operates what's called the Miami Valley Warm Line. And not only during times of crisis that we're experiencing right now, but this warm line is available Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. And it's also during the holidays, as we're getting ready to go into Thanksgiving, where you might just be feeling lonely and need someone to talk to. That warm line is a great place for you to turn to, to find comfort and support. And that phone number is (937)-528-7777. So the resources are here. People are here and they're in place and they want to help you. You just have to share with someone that you need that help and we will find it for you.
Mobley: What kind of sensitivity should a lot of us have moving forward?
Rezash-Rogal: I love the way you frame that question, because it's not only in the hours in the days following a traumatic event that an individual might need support. It is weeks, months, years. The National Institute of Mental Health has published a beautiful piece and some of the things they suggest:
- Ask how are you and tell the person. You're asking that you really mean that. You want to know how they're doing.
- Keep them safe, to make sure that that individual feels safe. You want that person to feel like they have a plan that will keep them safe to help them just move forward.
- Be that listening ear and that individual who is open to having the hard conversations about what they're thinking and what they're feeling.
- Help them connect. We talked about the crisis text line, which is so important. All you have to do is text 741741 to get help or calling 988, the National Suicide Prevention & Crisis Hotline.
- Stay connected with your friends and family and make sure that they're doing okay.
Mobley: Tina Rezash-Rogel, director of Strategic Initiatives and Communication for Montgomery County Alcohol, Drug Addiction, & Mental Health Services (ADAMHS). Thank you so much, Tina, for speaking with us today.
Rezash-Rogal: I certainly appreciate the call and grateful for the opportunity to encourage people to reach out if they need help.