Washington, DC – Priscilla Dass-Brailsford, EdD, an expert in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) says today’s deadly shooting at Virginia Tech could be an emotional setback for people recovering from the earlier traumatic event that occurred there in 2007, in which 32 students and faculty were killed by a lone gunman who went on a campus rampage.
Earlier today, Virginia Tech reported that a university police officer was shot and killed, and another person was found dead on campus. The shooter was at-large in the hours following the initial reports.
“Obviously, today’s incident triggers memories of the 2007 tragedy,” says Dass-Brailsford, an associate professor in the department of psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical Center. “All the usual reactions to trauma and violence – hyper-vigilance, fear, anxiety, shock, flashbacks to 2007-- can occur.” She describes these feelings are normal.
Dass-Brailsford says some might experience an added dimension of fear, doubting their own personal safety. “Many will realize that even the police are not safe,” she said referring to the death of the university police officer.
Dass-Brailsford says the holidays can be a difficult time of year for those who have lost loved ones and that today’s events might add to the pain for those who lost loved ones in 2007.
Dass-Brailsford, editor of Crisis and Disaster Counseling: Lessons Learned From Hurricane Katrina and Other Disasters (2009), was a first-responder in the week after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, as well as 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City. She is also an active member of the American Psychological Association’s Divisions of Trauma and Ethnic Minority Psychology.
Dass-Brailsford is available for media interviews by contacting Karen Mallet at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Georgetown University Medical Center
Georgetown University Medical Center is an internationally recognized academic medical center with a three-part mission of research, teaching and patient care (through MedStar Health). GUMC’s mission is carried out with a strong emphasis on public service and a dedication to the Catholic, Jesuit principle of cura personalis -- or "care of the whole person." The Medical Center includes the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing & Health Studies, both nationally ranked; Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, designated as a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute; and the Biomedical Graduate Research Organization (BGRO), which accounts for the majority of externally funded research at GUMC including a Clinical Translation and Science Award from the National Institutes of Health. In fiscal year 2010-11, GUMC accounted for 85 percent of the university’s sponsored research funding.