EL PASO, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Luis Olma walks along the memorial near the site of Saturday’s massacre in El Paso carrying a sign.
“Can I pray for you?” it reads.
People stop to take him up on the offer and often open up about the trouble they’re having.
“Just that they’re hurting,” he says.
Valorie Gates, the wife of a police officer who responded to the call of a shooting, says her family has turned to prayer to deal with their emotions.
“It doesn’t matter who you are, whether you were here that day or not. Somehow the whole city just feel broken and at a loss for words,” she said.
People in the border city talk about a shared sense of heightened anxiety.
“You can’t go to concerts, you can’t go to yoga,” said Veronica Saenz.
“Everyone’s scared to even go shopping for groceries,” said Marisel Hernandez.
“You want to get your stuff and get out. You just don’t feel like you want to take your time anymore,” said Alejandra Licon.
Dr. Alan Tyroch, the director of trauma services at University Medical Center El Paso says surgeons there who treated victims are working through their emotions.
“Everybody gets impacted, it may be weeks later, it may be months later,” he said. “I know we’re gonna have some PTSD and emotional problems.”
The Borderland 100 Club, an organization dedicated to supporting local first responders, is arranging peer support sessions for the estimated 200 first responders who worked the scene of the shooting.
“You get a validations and you can accept your feelings and then you can deal with it,” said Amanda Walsmith, the group’s founder and president.
She says scientific evidence shows talking to others about a shared experience can offer significant mental health benefits.
“I highly encourage you to reach out to your neighbors, reach out to your fellow coworkers, reach out to your family and be open with how you’re feeling,” she said.