How to Cope & Help With the Tragedy of “The Dark Knight Rises” Shooting

Photo: Judy Goos hugs her daughters friend Isaiah Bow, who was an eye witness to the shooting, outside Gateway High School where witnesses were brought for questioning in Denver. (AP)

“The Dark Knight Rises” has been in the news a lot as we’ve eagerly awaited seeing the Batman blockbuster, but no one anticipated it would then become an even bigger news story for such a sad reason. Early this morning a gunman opened fire at the midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colorado.

In the afternoon police chief Dan Oates spoke live, saying 71 people were shot and 12 were killed. Some people have already been released from the hospital, and others are in good to critical condition. According to reports, a male suspect came into the theater and began shooting not too long after the movie started. Police later arrested 24-year-old James Holmes, the alleged gunman.

The story swiftly became international news, often becoming the headlining story in different countries and a trending topic on Twitter. Both President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney sent their condolences about the awful event too as well as countless celebrities ranging from Jessica Simpson to filmmaker Michael Moore (who won an Academy Award for his documentary about violence in America, “Bowling for Columbine.”)

People are struggling with all sorts of different emotions from the tragic news: fear, sadness, disbelief, anger, anxiety. There are going to be a lot of different reactions, and many people will react differently. This is normal. It’s also normal for people to experience more than one emotion, sometimes at the same time. Here are some tips to deal with tragedy from our friends at Half Of Us.

+Turn If Off

24 hours a day, 7 days a week – news of tragedy and details of its impact come at us from every angle. Sometimes you need to flip off your TV, computer or phone, and focus on something else. When you do follow the news, stick to reliable sources and avoid rumors or speculation.

+Get Up & Get Out

Tragedies like this can weigh so heavily on us that it makes it hard to move. The simple act of taking a walk, hitting the gym, running some errands or grabbing food with friends, can help us cope with tough feelings and feel better.

+Look Out For Friends

If you notice a friend or family member is having a hard time dealing with news about a tragedy, reach out and offer support. Look out for warning signs that they are feeling hopeless. These could include not wanting to see other people, not sleeping or sleeping all the time, increased use of drugs or alcohol, or talking about death or dying. It is natural for people near a tragedy to feel anxious and have some difficulty concentrating or sleeping for a short while. These feelings should get better in a few days (or weeks for those very closely impacted). If they are not improving, seek help for yourself or a friend.

+Turn Anger Into Action

It’s so easy to be overcome with anger by senseless acts of violence. It can be healthy to express that anger, but we can also choose to turn that anger into positive action. Whether it be talking about your feelings, reaching out to support other people coping with the tragedy or just taking a few minutes to be grateful for the good things in your life, positive actions are proven to help improve how you feel.

There are ways to help the victims and families, Next Movie already has some good ways to give back. You can also visit Half of Us to learn more about tragedy and how to cope. In order to keep those personally involved in our thoughts, you can also sent out condolences and Tweet #PrayForAurora so they’ll know we’re thinking about them.

But if you are hurting from this, whether you’re personally involved or not, that’s okay. It’s okay to express your feelings. We recommend you check out halfofus.com, but if you want to talk to another person, feel free to call 1-800-273-TALK.

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Love Is Louder

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