Sentencing could reopen mental scars from shooting - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Sentencing could reopen mental scars from shooting

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Holly Darwin with Codac Behavioral Health Services says today's sentencing of shooter Jared Loughner may have sparked new hurt for many still getting over the mass shooting. Holly Darwin with Codac Behavioral Health Services says today's sentencing of shooter Jared Loughner may have sparked new hurt for many still getting over the mass shooting.
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Some of the survivors of the Jan. 8, 2011, mass shooting have openly expressed problems overcoming that traumatic event.

Holly Darwin with Codac Behavioral Health Services says today's sentencing of shooter Jared Loughner may have sparked new hurt for many still getting over the mass shooting. She said the first thing people want to do is diminish what they're feeling by comparing it to the pain of others.

"Many times we judge that by saying my trauma wasn't as bad as the folks who were there," Darwin said. "This was a resolution of a 22-month long chapter, I don't think anyone of us will completely have closure."

But the mental scars of the tragedy remain.

"There is some closure in being able to actually speak to this young man who 22 months ago was a few feet away from me and put bullets into me," survivor Pam Simon said.

"Very often we are triggered," Darwin said.

Survivor Daniel Hernandez said today he's glad the hearings are over.

"Now we're able to not worry about having that messy trial where so many things would have to be relived over and over again," Hernandez said.

Darwin said, "I haven't seen very much evidence either in my practice or community mental health that reliving the trauma over and over again is helpful."

While some victims have attended every Loughner hearing, others like the family of Christina-Taylor Green, did not.

Instead they've attended a number of ceremonies honoring their daughter's legacy.

Bill Badger was wounded in the shooting.

"It didn't come to an end but it definitely took a giant step forward," Badger said.

Nancy Bowman had been at the scene.

"There's been many times that I wanted to walk away and say, ‘That's enough. I'm not doing it anymore.'"

The reactions to today's events are as unique as the individual who experienced them.

Darwin said it's important to know when coping alone isn't cutting it.

"We start to isolate. We become angry for no apparent reason. We can't do some of the normal activities we've been doing. Those are big signs," Darwin said.

The crisis response center says – as a response to today's sentencing, they have again staffed the Tucson Tragedy Support Line, which can be reached at 1-800-796-6762.

Copyright 2012 Tucson News Now All rights reserved.

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