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Mental health expert provides tips for coping with recent trauma

One way to navigate through the heaviness of the week, mental health experts say is through connection with others.

MINNEAPOLIS — For many, the news cycle can be exhausting. 

"What we’re all experiencing is so human, its natural," said Dr. Heidi Bausch-Ryan, a licensed psychologist with CARE Counseling.  

The last two weeks have been heavy for so many as a community mourned the death of a 6-year-old who police say was killed by his mother. 

Then the two-year anniversary of George Floyd's death and the tragedy at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas. 

It's a lot to process, which Dr. Bausch-Ryan says is uniquely processed from person to person. 

"Some people might find that you know gaining more information and being more invested in learning what’s happening and talking with others about it is helpful," explained Dr. Bausch-Ryan. She went on to say, "others they might need to unplug for a little bit and really get into a place of inner groundedness or peace whether that’s taking a walk or being immersed in nature.”

But perhaps the best tool to navigating your way through the heaviness of the week, mental health experts say is through connection with others. 

"Connecting with others just as a whole tends to be such a helpful way of navigating this time of stress," said Dr. Bausch-Ryan. 

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Many mental health experts recommend using the PERMA model.  

Positive emotion: "It could be simply a moment of connection with another person or a moment of caring for another person," said Dr. Bausch-Ryan. 

Engagement: "That could look like calling somebody, talking with somebody," said Dr. Bausch-Ryan. 

Relationships: "We have this inclination when we feel unsafe or when we feel overwhelmed to withdraw and to become distant and really what we humans need most usually during this time is to connect.”

Meaning: “The meaning that we make out of it can shape the way that we feel about it," said Dr. Bausch-Ryan. 

Sense of Accomplishment: "Which really the biggest accomplishment right now is that we’re moving through the day.”

Dr. Bausch-Ryan went on to explain, "the more that we feel connected to ourselves, to others, that are meaningful in our lives the more that we’ll feel that sense of hope and we’ll feel that sense of momentum through what we’re experiencing and that we’ll find a sense of solace and support.”

In addition to everything that's going on, it is Mental Health Awareness Month. So for anyone who may be struggling and need to connect with someone like Dr. Bausch-Ryan mentioned.

The number to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services mental health hotline is 1-800-662-HELP.

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