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Grief Counseling: Why It Is So Important, Counselors Head to Delta State After Deadly Shooting

CLEVELAND, MISS– Delta State University’s classes are cancelled for Tuesday, but the campus is still active as students, faculty, alumni and the community are joining together to remember Dr. Ethan Schmidt.

Part of that process is grief counseling, which Dr. Vicki Mahan, Assistant Director of the University Counseling Center at Ole Miss says is a very important part of processing the sadness, fear, and anger left from the deadly Delta State shooting that killed Dr. Ethan Schmidt.

“Right after a tragic event, people usually are pretty numb,” says Dr. Mahan, “it doesn’t hurt to see a grief counselor immediately, but the impact of the tragedy usually comes much later.”

Dr. Mahan says that Ole Miss sent grief counselors to Delta State in order to help with the number of students and faculty that just need someone to talk to about what they’re feeling.

“They usually should come in to talk about how to stay safe, what’s healthy to do until it all hits them,” says Mahan, “that will be much of the process today. We’ll be helping them to debrief from what happened, to tell their story.”

Mahan says the feelings are validated through being able to express them, then those in counseling are given tips on how to stabilize themselves.

“We give them grounding techniques such as deep breathing, how to meditate, go be by yourself for a few minutes, to get back in balance so they can go on with their day.”

Dr. Mahan says that in this case grief is accompanied by fear, especially for those who were in high alert because of their proximity to the shooting.

“All of those things feed into the processing of the situation,” says Mahan.

As those effected by this shooting wrap up their counseling today, they will move on to the next phase of of moving on.. There will be a candlelight vigil tonight at 7pm at the Delta State University campus. The vigil is open to anyone who would like to pay respects to Dr. Schmidt and stand in unity with DSU.

 

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