Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Connecticut Psychiatrists Mobilize in Newtown

The Connecticut Psychiatric Society (CPS) reacted swiftly to the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last Friday. CPS President John Santopietro, M.D., and Disaster Committee Chair Shaukat Khan, M.D., consulted that afternoon with APA experts on disaster psychiatry. Within hours, 100 CPS members responded to Santopietro’s e-mail requesting volunteers to help in the stricken town. By coincidence, CPS had conducted a disaster-response training session for members just a month before.

By Saturday afternoon, working through the Red Cross and state and local health agencies, CPS arranged for at least two psychiatrists to be on duty with other mental health professionals for three-hour shifts from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at a crisis-response center in Newtown. On Sunday, they met with more than 300 local children and adults.

More such help will be needed in the weeks, months, and years ahead to contain the suffering and anxiety caused by the shooting, said Santopietro.

“Concentric waves of psychological pain are rippling out from Newtown, and we want people to get excellent care,” he said. The CPS will continue working with area health and social-service agencies in that long-term effort.

More information about the APA's response to the tragedy in Newtown can be found on APA’s home page. Information about CPS is posted at www.ctpsych.org.


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