Resources to help community cope with tragedy
The murder of Lori Bresnahan and rape of the ten-year-old girl she was with has left many asking, "Why?" and trying to process the tragedy. Our Sarah Blazonis spoke with a trauma response coordinator about where to turn if you need help.
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ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- Police tape is no longer the only marker at the spot where Lori Bresnahan lost her life. Flowers and notes also sit along Verplank Road, mementos were left by the mourning community.
"I think what it does is it really throws us. Our sense of safety and security is blown right out of the water," said Jeanne Elmer, a trauma response coordinator with CONTACT Community Services.
Elmer said she's personally received a handful of calls since Thursday night from community members affected by the attack. She said the randomness and brutality of such crimes can be hard for people to accept, but resources like CONTACT's listening hotline can help.
"Talk about some of the facts, reassure us about the safety that does exist in our community, and give us some tools to just manage our anxiety around that," Elmer said.
Another difficult task can be explaining this crime to children.
"If a parent has an indication that a very young child has been exposed to this, I would advise that parent to ask, 'Is there anything that's happened recently that you're worried about?'" she suggests.
Older children who might have more exposure to the news through media or school may require a different approach.
"I think if I was talking to a child and he or she was sharing with me what they thought happened, very often at least some of the details are not correct," said Elmer.
How much information parents share about the violent nature of the crime will depend on a child's age and development level. But Elmer says reaching out is an important first step for anyone having trouble processing this tremendous loss.
If you or someone you know is in need of services, you can call CONTACT's listening hotline at (315)-251-0600.
You can also call the Mental Health Connection at (315)-445-5606 to be connected with a mental health professional.