DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Montgomery County has launched its first Trauma Recovery Center in response to the increase in mass shootings and horrific acts of violence.
The Trauma Recovery Center is located under the umbrella of Family Services, which has helped meet the needs of the community for more than a century.
“The cholera outbreak, the 1913 flood, The Depression–Whatever it was, we were there,” states Bonnie Parish, Executive Director of Family Services. “This is a natural place for the Trauma Recovery Center to be located.”
Montgomery County Family Services has always worked to meet the needs of the community and worked with victims of crimes, but they’ve expanded their services to dealing with primary and secondary trauma, especially in light of recent mass shootings. The Trauma Recovery Center focuses on survivors, victims, and their families.
“They might not have been there, but somebody they knew was there, or somebody told them a story. And it was a trigger for their own experience,” says Parish.
Myron McGee is the director for the Trauma Recovery Center.
“There is a fallout that’s widespread. People that are at the scene, that actually experienced it, they have trauma. Their families have trauma. The community at large has trauma,” states McGee.
McGee says anything can act as a trigger for someone who has experienced trauma.
“Once you experience a trauma, it creates a memory. And it’s an experience. After that, you can smell something, you can hear something, you can drive by a sign and see something, or you can hear a voice, and it can trigger you in a number of ways,” describes McGee. “Whether it’s your palms start sweating, your heart starts beating, you start sweating—there’s a number of different reactions that can occur.”
The center provides free counseling and services and also has a group for first responders.
“The EMTs, the police officers, the firefighters–All of these people who are on the scene first are also experiencing trauma as they help other people,” states McGee.
Partnering with CitiLookout Counseling and Trauma Recovery Center in Springfield, Family Services uses them as a guide. CitiLookout was founded in 2008, and it was always the dream and goal it would be a recovery and resilient center.
Stephen Massey, who received the Special Courage Award from the Attorney General’s Office for exemplary service, serves as the director at CitiLookout.
“The TRC is composed of a team of clinicians who do all the counseling and therapy, but we also have a team of advocates who hit the ground and work with the survivors,” says Massey. “We do things from go to court with them, help them with housing, clothing, food, shelter, find jobs, help with safety planning. So there’s a gamut of services that we offer under the advocacy piece.”
Their mission is to support people who are harmed the most and helped the least, and they realize trauma and treatment look a little different for everyone.
“We take away those barriers to help them understand that they have victims’ rights, and if they do want to come forward, they can in a safe manner where they’re honored and there’s dignity involved. Or they don’t have to, and we can keep them safe and work with them as they work through the survivorship process,” says Massey.
Working with a range of victims, the two centers are partnering together to navigate trauma and the survivorship process while restoring hope and providing healing in the Miami Valley.
“We are going to continue to change our program as necessary and evolve. Eventually we’ll have advocates on the street just like CitiLookout. We’ll have more collaborative relationships,” says McGee.
Services are free. For anyone struggling, you can reach out and email McGee at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can call 937-222-9481.
Click here for services and resources on Family Services’ website.