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Association of Flight Attendants-CWA United Master Executive Council

Managing your Distress in the Aftermath of a Shooting from your AFA EAP

Date: October 2, 2017
Type: AFA Article

You may be struggling to understand how a shooting could occur and why such a terrible thing would happen. There may never be satisfactory answers to these questions.

We do know, though, that most people will experience a variety of emotions following such a traumatic event. These feelings can include shock, sorrow, numbness, fear, anger, disillusionment, grief and others. You may find that you have trouble sleeping, concentrating, eating or remembering even simple tasks. This is common and should pass after a while. Over time, the caring support of family and friends can help to lessen the emotional impact and ultimately make the changes brought about by the tragedy more manageable. You may feel that the world is a more dangerous place today than you did yesterday. It will take some time to recover your sense of equilibrium. Meanwhile, you may wonder how to go on living your daily life. You can strengthen your resilience — the ability to adapt well in the face of adversity — in the days and weeks ahead. 

Here are some tips:

  • Talk about it. Ask for support from people who care about you and who will listen to your concerns. Remember, your AFA EAP is available for confidential assistance.  Contact 800-424-2406 for your local committee members.
  • Strive for balance. When a tragedy occurs, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and have a negative or pessimistic outlook. Balance that viewpoint by reminding yourself of people and events which are meaningful and comforting, even encouraging.
  • Turn it off and take a break. You may want to keep informed, but try to limit the amount of news you take in whether it’s from the Internet, television, newspapers or magazines. While getting the news informs you, being overexposed to it can actually increase your stress.
  • Honor your feelings. Remember that it is common to have a range of emotions after a traumatic incident.
  • Take care of yourself. Engage in healthy behaviors to enhance your ability to cope with excessive stress.
  •  If you have recently lost friends or family in this or other tragedies. Remember that grief is a long process. Give yourself time to experience your feelings. It is important to get professional help if you feel like you are unable to function or perform basic activities of daily living. Your AFA EAP can help you with a referral.

 

This tip sheet was made possible by the American Psychological Association.  

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