“I think that everybody’s sense of security has been threatened.”
Americans are living in fear
the ongoing backdrop of violence is steadily eroding the sense of well-being, safety, and efficacy known to be essential for healthy development.
“These tragedies are happening far too often, and the result is that many young people are feeling this constant back-of-the-mind stress,”
“Our reserves are depleted as a nation and our young people are suffering.”
Fear of mass shootings has left a large majority of Americans feeling stressed, including a third of adults who say they now avoid certain places and events as a result (Stress in America: Fear of mass shootings, APA, 2019).
say the frequency of mass shootings, amplified by our near-constant access to media coverage of such events, amounts to an accumulation of exposure that is harming everyone’s mental health.
“The more catastrophic events we’re exposed to as a nation, the more impacted we’re going to be on a psychological level,”
he young people they treat are on high alert, constantly planning their escape route if violence breaks out in public.
For survivors and witnesses of mass shootings, suffering tends to be particularly severe. Studies have documented increases in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depression, anxiety disorders, substance use disorder, and other conditions among people who have survived a mass shooting.
“There’s a great deal of evidence that individuals who are far away from mass shootings can face anxiety and impairments, and this is often correlated with the amount of media exposure they have,” Comer said.
Though relatively few people will witness or survive mass shootings, many more will experience them through news reports and social media.
Over time, media exposure to mass violence can even fuel a cycle of distress, where persistent worry about future violence predicts more media consumption and more stress
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