Psychologist: Don't keep MSU shooting trauma bottled up - seek help

After a mass shooting on the campus of Michigan State University, communities across Michigan are searching for answers, and processing the aftermath. 

Three students were killed and five others injured. Arielle Anderson, Brian Fraser and Alexandria Verner lost their lives in the tragedy while the other five shooting victims remain in critical condition. 

"This is a trauma," said Dr. Sarah Kiperman, Corewell Health.

During Tuesday's press conference, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the MSU college president searched for the right words.

Sparrow Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Denny Martin was overcome with emotions earlier today.

"I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night, sorry," he said, fighting back tears.

Dr. Kiperman is a licensed psychologist.

"I think, with trauma, a common experience that we have is shock," she said. "It’s okay to not feel okay and it’s okay to be struggling right now."

Medical professionals say it’s crucial to give yourself time and space to process a traumatic incident. This means even if you are hundreds of miles away watching the incident unfold on TV.

"I would say the best thing we could all do is proactively seek help rather than waiting to realize that we are not okay," Kiperman said. "Whether it’s going to a crisis center, or going to get on a therapist schedule."

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"I’m just proud of the team," Dr. Martin said. "Just trying to make rounds and make sure everyone is doing okay, getting therapy to caregivers here who need it."

More: Michigan State shooting: Resources available to students

There is also the concern about trauma when it is repeated.

FOX 2 spoke to the father of a former Oxford High School student who was on campus during the shooting in 2021 and was on campus as a freshman during the MSU mass shooting.

"It’s been heartbreaking for me as a parent, right?," said Matthew Riddle. "She said this one felt more navigate-able for her because she’s been through it before, and that sucks, frankly."

Psychologist says it’s important for parents to model coping skills and communicate with their children to know what support they need.

Matthew Riddle says that’s exactly what he offers to his daughter Emma.

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"Just being here with her, talking," he said.

Medical professionals make it clear never be afraid to seek out counseling sessions and family support, the one thing you don’t want to do is keep your feelings to yourself

"If we respond to trauma on our own, often we are putting a Band-Aid on it," said Dr. Kiperman, "rather than clearing the infection that could be spreading."

Find the latest MSU shooting updates here.