PARKLAND, Fla. - Students, parents and community members are going through emotional anguish after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
It's reason for concern from many mental health experts, who will be traveling to Parkland to help those in need.
The Parkland Amphitheater, where thousands attended a vigil the night after the attack, has become a place of mourning and a place to remember the 17 lives lost. Seventeen angels, one for each person who was killed, have been displayed at the amphitheater.
A lot of people are devastated and heartbroken, and a lot of people are willing to help and support them every step of the way.
Their messages to the grief-stricken community members: We're here for you. We love you. We will take care of you.
Mental health experts have started to arrive in Parkland to help those affected, including the families of those killed and injured.
On Friday, News4Jax saw chaplains and counselors from the Red Cross and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
"My concern is that many people are suffering in silence right now," grief counselor Stacey Steinbaum said. "And nobody should be suffering in silence."
Steinbaum, a licensed clinical social worker with a master's degree in social work, didn't need to travel to Parkland since she happens to live across the street from the high school.
She and so many others are offering their services for free.
"What about all of the children who lost their siblings? And their parents can't help them right now because their parents are not well," Steinbaum said. "This is a really hard time for our whole community and everyone in the country."
She said loved ones should look for changes in behavior, isolation, and changes in sleeping and hygiene.
"Sometimes parents say, 'I don't know what to say,'" Steinbaum said. "Just listen. Be in the room. Let them open up too."
The wounds are still fresh and, for many, reality hasn't even set in.
Steinbaum said it’s going to be a long and painful process for so many.
"I am very concerned about the mental health of our children who have to go to school on Wednesday, go back to the school," she said. "It is very scary for the whole families."
In the midst of the tragedy, love and compassion can be seen throughout the community.
Mental health experts told News4Jax that they are there to make sure no one goes through this alone, and to spread the message of love and support.
To learn about mental health therapy in the Parkland area, visit PersonalTherapyServices.com or call 954-491-0330.
In North Florida, most public school districts and sheriff’s offices will also be offering free counseling.
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