GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As Michigan State University students returned to class Monday for the first time since last week’s deadly shooting, many were still processing their emotions about what happened.
Dr. Bill Sanders, the chief medical officer at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services in metro Grand Rapids, reminded them that the best way to do that is to talk about their feelings.
“One of the best ways to overcome this trauma and the feelings associated with that is to talk about it,” he said. “To be social, to connect with friends, teachers, family members. That’s really the best way to overcome a tragedy like this if they’re experiencing any difficulties returning to school.”
Sanders said returning to class can be helpful for some students.
“Getting back into a routine is one of the best ways to overcome this type of a tragedy,” he said. “There’s this built-in connectedness with the university. The university is really a community. Taking those steps to get back to class are important.”
Student Enzo Sugameli, who was in the MSU Union when shots were fired there last week, said that sense of community was already helping him.
“Just being around other people is a lot better because then you don’t have to dive deep into your own psyche, I guess. I just find being around others is the way to get through it,” he said.
Sanders said easing back into a routine can be helpful. He suggested that some students may want to attend one class per day or go with a friend.
“If they’re experiencing things like anxiety, stress or they’re having trouble with sleep, things might come in waves where they’ll feel anxious or feel shaky or their stomach will feel upset, those might be signs that they’re not quite ready to go back,” he said.
Sanders said students, faculty and staff at MSU should be taking advantage of the resources available to them. He said Pine Rest has 20 crisis trained therapists available to people dealing with the MSU tragedy who can be reached at 616.559.5895.
Sanders pointed out that lingering responses may appear later. He said everyone experiences trauma differently but there are things students and other MSU community members can do to take care of themselves.
“Reaching out for help, talking, being social, getting back into a regular routine, self-care, being physically active, doing those things that can be very helpful can be really the best things you can do during this time,” he said.
More information regarding counseling services and support for students, staff, faculty and community members can be found on MSU’s website.