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Healing Communities

When attacks of mass violence occur, there is an impact on the larger community. In fact, many times there is a global impact - when families, friends and even the general public from around the country and the world become part of a grieving community.

Communities can be identified as a geographic, spatial or territorial region bounded by a defined perimeter - such as a town, county, state or country. But they can also be defined by their common identity, interests or communities - such as community groups, professional associations, employers, and faith-based organizations. They may also be defined by collective relationships that give meaning to an individual's identity - such as professional colleagues, friends and neighborhoods.

Given the increased risk that mass violence poses on communities, VOICES created an e-book as a resource for those who will create plans directed at short-term response and long-term recovery. The eBook was reviewed by the Office for Victims of Crime and is now available to download here. The principles discussed in the eBook focus on how to assist communities in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from acts of mass violence.

The spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is the most serious global health threat we have faced in our lifetime. Many communities around the world have imposed much-needed restrictions by implementing quarantines and social distancing to slow down the spread of the virus. What was once a casual greeting, “How are you?” has real meaning in light of the spread of the virus.

Acts of terrorism, mass violence and natural disasters are occurring at an alarming rate in the US and abroad. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact communities globally, causing an increase in mental health conditions for the foreseeable future. Whether it’s a pandemic or a terrorist attack, our research findings and longstanding expertise in working with victims’ families, survivors, and responders, indicate a need for consistent long-term support.

Resilience is the capacity to manage adversity and losses, and the ability to adapt to challenges and life-changing events. Sometimes resilience is referred to as being able to bounce back. Resilience includes skills, beliefs and knowledge – all of which can be strengthened and built upon. While we often think of resilience in terms of individual people, a community can also build resilience.

An online resource kit based on interviews conducted with service providers who responded to 9/11, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the shootings at Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois University and in Tucson, Arizona.