COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Mental health workers with the Ohio State University are addressing the trauma caused by another mass shooting on a school campus.
“It continues getting closer and closer to home every time something like this happens,” said Julie Schnell, an Ohio State University graduate student.
Schnell said Monday night’s mass shooting at Michigan State University became far more personal when she discovered her boyfriend had to undergo lockdown.
“He was about a block away because he lives on campus,” she said.
Schnell said her boyfriend was huddled inside his dorm room, trying to protect himself from the shooter.
“I had been in contact with him, I was asking him to text me like every minute, as things were going on,” she said.
The trauma of the experience left her and other students concerned for their safety, which mental health professionals said needs to be addressed.
“When you’re on a campus such as ours, or Michigan State University, that’s a large area,” said Dr. Kenneth Yeager, a professor with the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Ohio State University. “It’s very difficult to avoid when you have to go to classes when you have events there.”
Yeager also serves as the director of Ohio State University’s stress, trauma, and resilience program, or STAR.
The frequency at which these mass shootings happen has led to more students seeking the services, Yeager said, which work to treat and support those who are experiencing trauma.
“If you can’t avoid the reminders of the violent act or the trigger event for the individual, you try to control where it is you go, who it is you see, what it is you do,” he said.
Yeager said 90% of all people will experience some traumatic event in their lifetime, which is why the program has more than 5,000 unique visits yearly.
“It’s an effort of all people to invest in the mental well-being of this generation because the impacts could be lifelong,” he said.
If you or a loved one is experiencing severe trauma or anxiety, there are resources for help, including OSU’s STAR program.