Student Perspectives: Supporting Clinical Students Providing Care for Individuals Following Communal Trauma
According to the Gun Violence Archive, a mass shooting occurs when four or more people, not including the person(s) responsible for the shooting, are shot or killed in a single incident. In 2022, the United States saw over 600 mass shootings with loss of life exceeding 650 people (Gun Violence Archive, 2023). As students working at an outpatient specialty trauma clinic and in a Level 1 trauma center in Colorado Springs, this topic hits close to home following the November 19, 2022 mass shooting at a Colorado Springs LGBTQIA+ nightclub in Colorado Springs. Our community joined together to provide crucial resources and support to those affected by the incident, which included graduate student clinical psychology trainees providing numerous hours of free coping support in the hospital, as well as outpatient therapy. Clinical psychology graduate training involves providing clinical services, which are often free or low-cost, to community members. Given that graduate students also face numerous personal and professional transitions and challenges during training (e.g., managing coursework, balancing multiple practicum placements, conducting dissertations), and are in the earliest stage of their career, it is crucial that training programs provide adequate support to these students who are increasingly at the frontline of service provision following mass trauma.