We experienced one of the darkest days in our country’s history when rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. I’m horrified by the violence we witnessed -- to me, it feels like a loss of innocence. The insurrection was a direct assault on our democracy and the Legislative Branch of our government incited by the President.
Here in Virginia-10, we have hundreds of community members who were working in and around the Capitol complex on that day and tens and thousands of our neighbors who work for the federal government. I especially want to thank the brave Capitol Police Officers who protected Members of Congress, staff, reporters, workers, and others during the riot. While there were undeniable lapses in security preparation from those at the top, I am inspired by the courage and heroism that many of our officers displayed.
Experiencing and witnessing the events of January 6th -- in person or on television -- was traumatic for many of us. It is okay to not feel okay right now. What’s important is that you take the time to take care of yourself and know that help is available.
My office has compiled a list of resources that I encourage you to take advantage of, which you can find below:
First and foremost, if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings, I urge you to call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or chat online at suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat.
I also want to make you aware of the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline. The Helpline, which you can reach at 1-800-985-5990, is a 24/7, 365-day-a-year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. The Disaster Distress Helpline also answers calls and texts related to infectious disease outbreaks, such as the COVID pandemic, incidents of community unrest, and other traumatic events.
The impact of crises may affect people in different ways. Learn how to recognize the warning signs and risk factors for emotional distress that you or a loved one may be experiencing in the wake of the riots. Here is more information about emotional distress that you may experience after incidents of mass violence and a fact sheet which may help you learn more about coping with grief after community violence.
For those struggling to explain the violence to their children, I invite you to take a look at SAMHSA’s guide on the subject here.
You can find more information about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, at the National Center for PTSD website here. If you are a veteran and are in crisis, you can contact the Veterans Crisis Line by calling 1-800-273-8255 and pressing 1 or sending a text to 838255. You can also chat online using the Confidential Veterans Chat.