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Trauma therapist weighs how mass shootings can affect our mental health

Everyday activities have now become traumatic events, according to trauma therapist Richelle Moore.

ST. LOUIS — The El Paso mass shooting happened in a place where anyone could be: a shopping area during the busy back-to-school season.

Within 24 hours, the Dayton, Ohio, shooting happened in "a safe part of downtown," where people gathered to go out to restaurants, bars and theaters.

5 On Your Side sat down with a trauma therapist to learn how these shootings can affect your mental health. 

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Normal, everyday activities have now become traumatic events, according to trauma therapist Richelle Moore. "It does affect the way we respond. It affects the way we view," Moore said.

She said it can either desensitize you or cause you to become overly sensitive to it. "Anything can become a threat, anything can be harmful to us, we no longer feel safe and so the safety becomes, I'm home," Moore told 5 On Your Side.

For some, it can even be a trigger to our own past experiences. "Try not to bring that past experience in your present experiences, so try and be as present at you can," she said. "If we stay in the past experiences, then we'll be stuck and we can't move forward."

Children can also be affected. The best advice for parents trying to explain what's happening is to let the child lead the conversation.

But no matter how old you are, Moore added that everyone should express how they feel when something like this happens.

"People need the permission to know that it's okay to not be okay. Being able to say why you feel that way so you recognize you emotion, so you can relate to it and release it."

There are several coping mechanisms to deal with a trauma like this. 

Anything to get your body moving is a good outlet, such as working out. Even writing down your feelings can be effective. But simply just talking about it can also make you feel better. 

If you need anyone to talk to, you can call the Behavioral Health Response Hotline at 314-469-6644, the Crisis Center at 314-647-4357 or a therapist.

If you'd like to contact Moore specifically, her number is 314-390-8703.

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