Mukilteo community forum to focus on grief and loss

MUKILTEO — A community forum is scheduled Thursday evening at the Rosehill Community Center to offer resources for dealing with grief and loss.

The forum was scheduled in response to the July 30 shooting deaths of three young adults in the city and the wounding of a fourth.

People may have a delayed reaction to distress, said Stacey Alles, chief operating officer for Compass Health. The nonprofit mental health organization is among the groups that have been offering assistance.

People living in the community should feel free to reach out for help, she said.

Representatives from Volunteers of America will be at the forum. The organization operates a confidential chat line and toll-free hotline for assisting with emotional stress.

Compass Health has a mobile crisis outreach team that can assist people of all ages for evaluations and counseling. That group can be contacted through the Volunteers of America hotline.

Mike Gallagher, principal at Kamiak High School, and Mukilteo Mayor Jennifer Gregerson are scheduled to speak at the forum. They will be joined by representatives from both victim support and domestic violence services.

There will be counselors at the meeting as well as certified peer counselors to assist with a question-and-answer period.

Jessica Vann-Campbell, Compass’ associate clinical director of emergency services, said that a short presentation will be made at Thursday’s forum on warning signs for people under emotional stress and how to talk to teens about grief and loss.

Potential signs of depression or anxiety include changes in appetite, sleep and mood, being easily irritated or tearful and seeking isolation, she said.

Parents should check in with teens regularly and respond to them with empathy, she said. Planning family dinners or family outings also can help so kids feel supported, Vann-Campbell said.

Once the school year begins, there will be an open hour drop-in counseling available at Kamiak High School, Vann-Campbell said.

“Grief often creeps up on us after everything gets a little calmer,” she said. “The initial shock begins to wear off and people go back to daily life.”

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; salyer@heraldnet.com.

Forum

A community forum is scheduled 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Rosehill Community Center, 304 Lincoln Ave. on resources available to the community, warning signs that someone is experiencing emotional distress, and how friends and family can help.

Help is available to teens and adults affected by the shooting by calling the Volunteers of America Care Crisis Line at 800-584-3578 or online at carecrisischat.org.

Compass Health’s Crisis Prevention and Intervention Team may be contacted from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 425-349-7447.

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