ROUTE 91

Healing from Mass Violence & Trauma

By Dr. Shiva Ghaed

The Las Vegas massacre was not the first mass shooting, nor will it be the last. Incidents of mass violence have been on the rise in the United States, and it is well known that survivors live with the psychological wounds for decades. Depending on how we choose to define β€œmass violence,” statistics range between one mass shooting per day (Gun Violence Archive) to one per month (Congressional Research Service). Furthermore, the five deadliest mass shootings in the United States have occurred over the past decade. One-third of all mass shootings in the world between 1966 and 2012 occurred in the United States.

Dr. Shiva Ghaed

The Las Vegas Route 91 Harvest Festival in October 2017 began like all other festivals. There were performances by top artists, dancing, food trucks and vendors. Most importantly, it was a weekend with friends. Everything changed in the final hour, when an evening of socializing and bonding with old and new friends became a desperate fight to survive. When I returned home, I realized I was in a unique position to help my community, and doing so was a moral obligation.

I was compelled to write this book so that a broader audience may learn more, not only about our journey of healing over the past year, but also about their own. Mental illness does not discriminate. The book is my way of bringing knowledge about the most common psychiatric problems – anxiety, depression, and trauma – to the general public. I believe that we can all help each other heal as a community by gaining a better understanding of mental health, fostering compassion, and approaching discussion about these highly stigmatized issues more openly. If we all step up and do what we can, when we can, then the world will be a better place for all of us.

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