BANGOR – After Monday’s shooting spree in Washington County, experts explained ways to cope after a traumatic event.
Some in the community may still be shaken after 63-year-old Thomas Bonfanti allegedly opened fire Monday in Machias and Jonesboro. He allegedly shot and killed three people and critically injured a fourth.
“When events like these happen, it’s not something I think anybody in Maine expects to happen on your Monday when you’re going about your business,” said Julie Redding, Clinical Director of Community Caring Collaborator.
According to the 2010 census, Washington County has a population of a little more than 32,000 people. Redding said some in the small tight-knit towns who are affected by the shooting could have known someone involved.
“The connections or the degrees of separation in rural communities, especially here in Washington County, are just much fewer than in other parts of the state,” said Redding.
Brent Scobie, Ph.D., Vice President of Clinician Services and Quality at Northern Light Acadia Hospital, said the reactions people may have to these types of events can vary.
“The memories float around in our heads and affect us. They affect us physiologically, behaviorally, emotionally, physically,” said Scobie.
He said kids especially may display problems with eating or sleeping on top of other signs.
“Parents might see behaviors coming out in situations that aren’t directly related to the event but maybe dealing more-so with temper tantrums or kids who are more emotional,” said Scobie.
He said it’s normal to feel troubled by this type of event, but most people will be able to get back to a normal life.
For those who are struggling with every day routine activities for a longer period of time, whether it be kids or adults, he recommends seeking help within the community.