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Wellness Center

Community Resiliency

The Wellness Center supports the strength and resiliency of the Rollins community.

The Wellness Center strives to support the holistic wellness of the Rollins community in the aftermath of shootings and other traumatic events. We recognize that the effects of community violence manifest differently and at different times for diverse individuals and families.  We also appreciate the additive effect of multiple stressful local, national, and global events on personal wellness.  

Although time has passed since the shooting, it can be helpful to check in with yourself as to changes in your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, and ways of relating to others.  Many of these changes are likely to pass with time, and none are signs of weakness.  If you notice that your reactions are extreme, or if they have been going on for a long time, counselors and other professionals can help.

We hope the information and resources provided here will enhance your regular wellness practices and help you give and receive support.  Information on common reactions, what helps, and giving and receiving support is reprinted from the Psychological First Aid Field Operations Guide (2nd ed.), developed by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and National Center for PTSD.

We each experience stress differently after community violence.  Some reactions are more common during or immediately after a shooting, while others can continue for weeks or months.  If you notice that your reactions are extreme, or if they have continued for a long time, counselors and other professionals can help.

Common Immediate Reactions


  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle tension
  • Stomachache
  • Increased heart rate
  • Exaggerated startle response
  • Difficulties sleeping
  • Alertness
  • Readiness to respond
  • Increased energy


  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Worry
  • Intrusive thoughts and images
  • Self-blame
  • Determination and resolve
  • Sharper perception
  • Courage
  • Optimism
  • Faith


  • Shock
  • Sorrow
  • Grief
  • Sadness
  • Fear
  • Anger
  • Numbness
  • Irritability
  • Guilt
  • Shame
  • Feeling involved
  • Feeling challenged
  • Feeling mobilized


  • Extreme withdrawal
  • Interpersonal conflict
  • Social connectedness
  • Altruistic helping behaviors

Common Reactions that May Continue

Intrusive reactions

  • Distressing thoughts or images of the event while awake or dreaming
  • Upsetting emotional or physical reactions to reminders of the experience
  • Feeling like the experience is happening all over again (“flashback”)

Avoidance and withdrawal reactions

  • Avoid talking, thinking, and having feelings about the traumatic event
  • Avoid reminders of the event (places and people connected to what happened)
  • Restricted emotions; feeling numb
  • Feelings of detachment and estrangement from others; social withdrawal
  • Loss of interest in usually pleasurable activities

Physical arousal reactions

  • Constantly being “on the lookout” for danger, startling easily, or being jumpy
  • Irritability or outbursts of anger, feeling “on edge”
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep, problems concentrating or paying attention

Reactions to trauma and loss reminders

  • Reactions to places, people, sights, sounds, smells, and feelings that are reminders of the disaster
  • Reminders can bring on distressing mental images, thoughts, and emotional/physical reactions
  • Common examples include sudden loud noises, sirens, locations where the disaster occurred, seeing people with disabilities, funerals, anniversaries of the disaster, and television/radio news about the disaster

Positive changes in priorities, worldview, and expectations

  • Enhanced appreciation that family and friends are precious and important
  • Meeting the challenge of addressing difficulties (by taking positive action steps, changing the focus of thoughts, using humor, acceptance)
  • Shifting expectations about what to expect from day to day and about what is considered a “good day"
  • Shifting priorities to focus more on quality time with family or friends
  • Increased commitment to self, family, friends, and spiritual/religious faith

Reprinted from Brymer, M., Jacobs, A., Layne, C., Pynoos, R., Ruzek, J., ... Watson, P. (2006).  Psychological first aid field operations guide (2nd ed.)  National Child Traumatic Stress Network and National Center for PTSD.

  • Talking to another person for support or spending time with others
  • Engaging in positive distracting activities (sports, hobbies, reading)
  • Getting adequate rest and eating healthy meals
  • Trying to maintain a normal schedule
  • Scheduling pleasant activities
  • Taking breaks
  • Reminiscing about a loved one who has died
  • Focusing on something practical that you can do right now to manage the situation better
  • Using relaxation methods (breathing exercises, meditation, calming self-talk, soothing music)
  • Participating in a support group
  • Exercising in moderation
  • Keeping a journal
  • Seeking counseling

What Doesn't Help

  • Using alcohol or drugs to cope
  • Extreme avoidance of thinking or talking about the event or death of a loved one
  • Violence or conflict
  • Overeating or failing to eat
  • Excessive TV or computer games
  • Blaming others
  • Working too much
  • Extreme withdrawal from family or friends
  • Not taking care of yourself
  • Doing risky things (driving recklessly, substance abuse, not taking adequate precautions)
  • Withdrawing from pleasant activities

Reprinted from Brymer, M., Jacobs, A., Layne, C., Pynoos, R., Ruzek, J., ... Watson, P. (2006).  Psychological first aid field operations guide (2nd ed.)  National Child Traumatic Stress Network and National Center for PTSD.

Seeking Social Support

  • Making contact with others can help reduce feelings of distress
  • Children and adolescents can benefit from spending some time with similar-age peers
  • Connections can be with family, friends, or others who are coping with the same traumatic event

Social Support Options

  • Spouse/partner or parents
  • Clergy
  • Support group 
  • Trusted family member
  • Doctor or nurse
  • Co-worker/teacher/coach
  • Close friend
  • Crisis/school counselor or other counselor
  • Pet


  • Decide carefully whom to talk to
  • Start by talking about practical things
  • Ask others if it's a good time to talk
  • Decide ahead of time what you want to discuss
  • Let others know you need to talk or just be with them
  • Tell others you appreciate them listening
  • Choose the right time and place
  • Talk about painful thoughts and feelings when you're ready
  • Tell others what you need or how they could help - one main thing that would help you right now


  • Keep quiet because you don't want to upset others
  • Keep quiet because you're worried about being a burden
  • Assume that others don't want to listen
  • Wait until you're so stressed or exhausted that you can't fully benefit from help

Ways to Get Connected

  • Calling friends or family on the phone
  • Increasing contact with existing acquaintances and friends
  • Renewing or beginning involvement in religious group activities
  • Getting involved with a support group
  • Getting involved in community/school recovery activities

Giving Social Support

You can help family members and friends cope with the disaster by spending time with them and listening carefully. Most people recover better when they feel connected to others who care about them. Some people choose not to talk about their experiences very much, and others may need to discuss their experiences. For some, talking about things that happened because of the disaster can help those events seem less overwhelming. For others, just spending time with people they feel close to and accepted by, without having to talk, can feel best. Here is some information about giving social support to other people.

Reasons Why People May Avoid Social Support

  • Not knowing what they need
  • Not wanting to burden others
  • Wanting to avoid thinking or feeling about the event
  • Feeling embarrassed or "weak"
  • Doubting it will be helpful, or that others will understand
  • Assuming that others will be disappointed or judgmental
  • Fearing they will lose control
  • Having tried to get help and feeling that it wasn't there
  • Not knowing where to get help

Good Ways to Give Support

  • Show interest, attention, and care
  • Show respect for the person's reactions and ways of coping
  • Talk about expectable reactions to disasters, and healthy coping
  • Find an uninterrupted time and place to talk
  • Acknowledge that this type of stress can take time to resolve
  • Express belief that the person is capable of recovery
  • Be free of expectations or judgments
  • Help brainstorm positive ways to deal with reactions
  • Offer to talk or spend time together as many times as is needed

Behaviors that Interfere with Giving Support

  • Rushing to tell someone that he/she will be okay or that they should just "get over it"
  • Acting like someone is weak or exaggerating because he or she isn't coping as well as you are
  • Discussing your own personal experiences without listening to the other person's story
  • Giving advice without listening to the person's concerns or asking the person what works for him or her
  • Stopping people from talking about what is bothering them
  • Telling them they were lucky it wasn't worse

When Your Support is Not Enough

  • Let the person know that experts think that avoidance and withdrawal are likely to increase distress, and social support helps recovery
  • Encourage the person to talk with a counselor, clergy, or medical professional, and offer to accompany them
  • Encourage the person to get involved in a support group with others who have similar experiences
  • Enlist help from others in your social circle so that you all can take part in supporting the person

Reprinted from Brymer, M., Jacobs, A., Layne, C., Pynoos, R., Ruzek, J., ... Watson, P. (2006).  Psychological first aid field operations guide (2nd ed.)  National Child Traumatic Stress Network and National Center for PTSD.


The following groups coordinate free counseling by appointment in Central Florida for those directly affected by the Pulse shooting:

Greater Orlando Trauma Recovery Network

Mental Health Association of Central Florida
1525 E. Robinson St.
Orlando, FL 32801

If you are not in Central Florida and would like to talk to a counselor in person, please contact your insurer, primary care provider, or community mental health center for referrals.

Crisis Phone and Text Lines

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
800-273-8255 (English/Spanish, 24/7)

Heart of Florida United Way 2-1-1 Information and Assistance Crisis Helpline
211 or text your zip code to 898-211 (multiple languages, 24/7)

SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline (English/Spanish, 24/7)
800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs or Hablanos to 66746

Crisis Text Line
Text START to 741-741 (24/7)

Trevor Lifeline
A nonjudgmental resource for LGBTQ+ youth.
866-488-7386 (24/7) or text Trevor to 202-304-1200 (4-8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays)

Central Florida Wellness Resources

City of Orlando Hispanic Office for Local Assistance
595 North Primrose Dr.
Orlando, FL 32803

The Center Orlando
946 N Mills Ave.
Orlando, FL 32803

Orlando Youth Alliance

Zebra Coalition
911 N Mills Ave.
Orlando, FL 32803

Online Resources

National Resource Groups