Calls to mental health hotlines spike in wake of Stoneman Douglas shooting

Mental health hotlines see spike in calls. (WPEC)

Following the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, calls into Mental Health Hotlines in Palm Beach County have spiked.

The 211 Hotline answers up to 400 calls a day from people seeking help during moments of crisis. The last couple weeks in particular, their calls have been ringing off the hook. “Calls are increasing because there’s a lot happening in this world right now,” explained Candi Spitz, Special Events Manager at the 211 Helpline. “Right now we’re getting a range from parents who are concerned about experiences that their children are hearing from their friends.”

According to Dr. Robyn Cassel, a local Psychologist and a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Alumni, this is normal response. “During a time of trauma a lot of people feel helpless,” said Dr. Cassel, “Especially if you’re not in the area.

Dr. Cassel says it’s important to look out for certain symptoms during tragedies.

1. Intrusive thoughts. For instance, if you can’t stop thinking about it, or are waking up from nightmares about it.

2. You’re avoiding the tragedy.

3. You’re noticing yourself responding to certain noises or places with jumpy, uncharacteristic behavior.

Fortunately, professional help can make a difference.

If you would like to reach out for help, here is a list of resources:

211 hotline

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