7/20 Committee offers mental health resources for those traumatized by James Holmes hearing

In addition, Morales says she is encouraging people to check out the committee's new website.

Since the site launched, around fifteen percent of visitors have come back multiple times, meaning they likely created logins and are working through the process outlined in the site, she says.

Aurora vigil photo 3.jpeg
Sam Levin
A scene from the first Aurora vigil on July 20.
"We really want people to be aware that this is yet one more tool in the toolbox to help them understand what traumatic stress is about," says Morales. "This is an ideal avenue for the average person to just learn more about what post-traumatic stress is and help identify whether they're going through that or maybe somebody that they know is going through that."

Here's the full alert the 7/20 Committee sent out, which offers signs of post-traumatic stress and information on available resources.


AURORA -- Monday, Jan. 7, 2013 -- With the preliminary hearing set to begin today, our community will tackle the next step in overcoming the tragic events that occurred on July 20, 2012 - the pursuit of justice. As we face this critically important step, it is important to recognize that, for many, this process will bring painful details of this crime to the forefront.

Following a tragedy like the July 20 theater shooting, it is very common to experience stressful side effects that can impact day-to-day life.

"Knowing the common signs of traumatic stress can help you spot those who may be impacted by the event and not even know it yet," said Karen Morales, spokesperson for the 7/20 Recovery Committee. "Learn to recognize these signs in friends, family members, colleagues -- and even yourself -- so you can get connected with the services available in our community to help."

Common signs of post-traumatic stress include:
· Trouble sleeping
· Nightmares or flashbacks
· Difficulty concentrating
· Change in appetite or sleep patterns
· Feelings of fear or anxiety
· Irritability, moodiness or feeling numb
· Withdrawing from friends or family

Reminders of a traumatic event, such as thoughts, smells, sounds and certain locations, can bring someone back to that place and time - whether or not they were physically present. Media coverage of the event, in particular, can trigger these reminders. Recognizing the signs above and reaching out to manage these feelings or talk to someone are the key to preventing more serious health issues, like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

"One of the many things we have learned about trauma recovery since July 20 is the extent to which additional events -whether ongoing media coverage of a criminal trial, another tragic event or the stress of the holiday season - can trigger re-traumatization," said Morales."It's important for each of us to recognize the signs of traumatic stress and to know where to find information and assistance."

Recognizing the signs of traumatic stress and finding ways to manage that stress are essential to preventing more serious health problems and moving forward in the healing process. If you or anyone you know is currently dealing with any of these signs of stress, reach out to the following resources:

Visit, for an interactive, individual skill-building experience that teaches people specific skills they can use to help overcome the trauma created by events such as the July 20 theater shooting. The site offers detailed information about trauma, what it is, how it affects each person differently, how trauma recovery works and very specific ways people can aid in their own recovery.

Call 303-617-2300 24 hours a day, seven days a week or visit to speak with a trained counselor.

If you or a family member was present at the theater or evacuated from the Paris Street apartments on July 20, 2012 and would like to speak with a victim advocate, call 800-261-2682 or visit

More from our Aurora Theater Shooting archive: "Aurora victim's father will return to theater: "He would want me to be there""

Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin. E-mail the author at

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