NV Mental Health Advocate Urges 'Check-In' Amid Streak of Violent Events
Monday, May 15, 2023
Nevada mental health professionals want to remind everyone it is OK to not be OK.
According to Mental Health America, in 2022 Nevada ranked last in the country for its overall prevalence of mental illness and for having the lowest rates of access to care.
Tennille Pereira, director of the Vegas Strong Resiliency Center, said following the recent mass shootings around the country, traumatic events can be triggering on various levels for people, especially for survivors.
She noted while May is Mental Health Awareness Month, mental health is something we need to take "more seriously year-round."
"We are seeing an unprecedented amount of mass violence, and there is a lot of discussion surrounding mental health and these incidents," Pereira pointed out. "Wherever you are on the spectrum of thought, in regards to that, these events do impact us."
Pereira argued after the Route 91 shooting massacre in Las Vegas in October 2017, killing 58 people and injuring more than 850, the state of Nevada did not have enough "properly trained and vetted providers to handle the need." She added while improvements have been made since then, things still need to improve.
Pereira observed survivors of mass violence often lose their sense of safety, when the "world can no longer feel or appear to them as safe." She emphasized therapy and mental health support are effective ways to work through trauma.
Pereira acknowledged when violent events continue to happen, it can really hamper a survivor's ability to bounce back.
"What it does is, it reinforces that thought distortion that the world isn't safe," Pereira explained. "It is really challenging for survivors to navigate a world where it keeps happening."
Pereira stressed one of the greatest barriers to getting help is the stigma often is associated with using mental health resources. She said the Vegas Strong Resiliency Center is working to "normalize" getting assistance and encourages everyone to check in with themselves, and added the center has expanded to provide services to all victims of violent crimes.
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