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May 25, 2014


Gil Reyes, Ph.D. greyes@fielding.edu

Betsy Bates Freed, Psy.D. (available beginning 5/29/2014) (805) 979-3440, betsy@drbatesfreed.com

Lauren Guy, Psy.D., drlaurenguy@gmail.com (available beginning 5/28/2014)


(resources listed at bottom of the page)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- Dr. Lauren Guy, President of the Santa Barbara County Psychological Association (SBCPA) www.sbpsychologists.org, reported today that concerned local psychologists have come forward to offer assistance to the community in the aftermath of violence that took the lives of seven people and injured 13.

                  “As of now, I have communicated with more than 30 SBCPA members who have expressed their desire to help,” said Dr. Guy, a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice who also counsels students at UCSB’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) center.

“I feel very proud of SBCPA's response to this call for action.”

The psychologists signaled to UCSB and the community that they will be available to provide counseling to survivors, first responders, students, and traumatized community members.

As a group, the psychologists of SBCPA reassured members of the community that profound sadness, worry, heightened vigilance, and even emotional numbness are normal reactions in the immediate aftermath of violent events such as the attack in the Isla Vista neighborhood Friday night.

"Emotions that are normal in response to violence and killing will be felt by most people, and will be particularly intense and even painful for many. These emotions can make it difficult to eat, sleep, or relax, and the ability to focus and concentrate may be affected", noted Dr. Gil Reyes, a clinical psychologist and an expert in crisis management and post-traumatic stress.

“In most people, the intensity of these reactions will resolve in a few days to weeks, although, of course, we will all be left feeling great sadness about this tragic event,” said Dr. Reyes. Some people, especially those with a close personal relationship to those who were killed or injured will need a much longer time to cope with their sense of loss and injustice, which often include painful memories that intrude upon their ability to adjust to what has happened. There is no correct or expectable amount of time it will take to grieve these losses, and reminders can persist across years as anniversaries and other special events (such as graduations, marriages, and births) come along. Survivors may also experience temporary intense distress when informed of subsequent violent events that trigger their own memories of loss and trauma.

"People can take a number of steps to foster emotional resilience and recovery", said Dr. Betsy Bates Freed, media coordinator for the SBCPA. These include:

·       Spending time with family members and close friends, talking with them about these feelings

·       Doing something to help, such as donating blood through the Red Cross

·       Minimizing exposure to television coverage or social media related to the event, which, in excess, can      be retraumatizing

·       Seeking help from a mental health professional if emotional symptoms are extreme or do not resolve      after a few days.

Dr. Reyes, President-Elect of the Santa Barbara County Psychological Association, is representing local psychologists and the Santa Barbara Response Network (SBRN) in meetings to coordinate community response to the tragedy.

He reported to the SBCPA board that meetings were held Saturday, May 24, with colleagues from UCSB, Santa Barbara City College (SBCC), Cottage and Goleta Valley Hospitals, Santa Barbara County Alcohol, Drug, and Mental Health Services (ADMHS), the Santa Barbara Response Network (SBRN), local government officials, and representatives of local public schools.

Dr. Reyes also responded to calls from the media, which he said was “of extreme importance in our public health messaging for a healthier community recovery,” he said.

The following are some relevant Fact Sheets from the American Psychological Association

Local and Community Resources responding to the Isla Vista Shootings:

  • Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) students and parents -- can talk to a counselor immediately, by calling (805) 965-0581 ext. 2298 with availability 24/7
  • SBCC and UCSB students and parents -- The University has been making counseling services available for students and has set up emergency housing for displaced students. The University has set up a call center at (805) 893-3901 for community members and parents with questions. The counseling services hotline number remains (805) 893-4411. Professional counseling support will are also available on campus at the Student Resource Building.​ - See more at: http://www.news.ucsb.edu/node/014194/isla-vista-shootings#sthash.VHlwPazK.dpuf
  • the Santa Barbara Response Network can help coordinate larger scale interventions/support for those affected by the Isla Vista shootings, particularly for those outside of UCSB and SBCC.  Click here for their website.

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