Local Red Cross Worker Helping in Connecticut

2:01 PM, Dec 16, 2012   |    comments
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NEWTOWN, C.T. - A Red Cross worker from Western New York is in Connecticut to help those affected by the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.

Tara Hughes is the New York State Disaster Mental Health Chief.  She was sent to Newtown to lead a team of mental health professionals and other volunteers there helping families and an entire community in the midst of tragedy.

"We really try to walk a fine line between being present for people but not be overwhelming," Hughes told Channel 2's Heather Ly by phone early Saturday morning.

Hughes said she and her team won't directly approach those who are grieving, rather let them approach her when they are ready to talk.

"We [the team] tend to normalize things like the inability to be able to concentrate or difficulty processing what someone is saying to them, difficulty sleeping or being irritable.  We talk a lot to people about what those reactions are because that really helps them to know they are not going crazy or doing a poor job handling this," said Hughes.

She said she won't due much counseling because it's much too early, and many people are still trying to process what happened.

"We do a lot of what we call the ministry of presence, where we really are just present to the people, in places where they are potentially getting bad or hearing details about what happened."


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