‘We have to acknowledge that we have been traumatized’: Albany leader speaks on how to cope with gun violence in communities and news

Albany leader speaks on how to cope with gun violence in communities and news
Published: May. 10, 2023 at 4:22 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - With gun violence and mass shootings both in the news and in communities nationwide, many may be feeling overwhelmed. One Albany spiritual and community leader spoke to WALB’s Jim Wallace about how to recognize and seek help.

Bishop Victor Powell, co-founder of Stop the Violence in Albany, has been working on this kind of subject for decades now. I know It’s in the headlines and on everybody’s television about shootings and people dying and everything. How can the common person, how do you handle seeing this kind of trauma?

“Trauma is very real and I think this is a subject that’s evolving,” Powell said. “Even the more when you think in terms of COVID-19. And now we’re talking about and continuing with all of the mass shootings. Number one, we have to acknowledge that we have been traumatized. I think that that’s what that’s the reality that’s happening more now is that we are beginning to acknowledge that trauma is real, even if even if it’s not war trauma, it’s real. To experience death like we experiencing COVID, mass shootings, we need to acknowledge the fact that we are traumatized, that we are affected by. Because Jim, what happens and many people in your audience will, will attest to this that often we don’t realize we’ve been traumatized by an event until sometimes weeks, months, sometimes years later. So number one, acknowledging that I have been traumatized, that this has affected me. Two, acknowledging that it’s OK not to be OK. It’s OK to have been traumatized by it. Three, seek out the help, get therapy. Talk to counselors. Talk to your spiritual leader. Talk to your pastor and that kind of thing. Those are the kind of, or to a friend, that can really help guide you through that time of trauma.”

And is it OK if you see a friend who’s looking like they probably could use some help to reach out to them sometimes as well?

“Absolutely,” Powell said. “Group sessions and family sessions, like what we’re experiencing throughout our country when you think in terms of a mother and a daughter killed at one time during the same incident, this will traumatize the families at a new level. Those families seeking our help. Because grief, at this level, will go years. So that therapy may last for years. That seeking help may last for years, but it’s OK to acknowledge that you’ve been traumatized because I think sometimes as we resort to this kind of thinking, ‘I’m alright and I’m OK and I don’t need nobody to talk to.’ But trauma that’s undealt with often, Jim, leads to more trauma.”

This is something I know a lot of people are thinking about, especially when it hits close to their towns or people they even know.