Alexandria, VA – Schroeder Stribling, president and CEO of Mental Health America, issued the following statement today regarding the first anniversary of the U.S. Capitol insurrection:
“Many of us will experience a wide range of emotions today as we confront painful memories of the attack on the U.S. Capitol a year ago. We may feel intense anger at the violent mob that swarmed the Capitol, beating police officers, shouting racial slurs, and threatening the lives of our legislators and law enforcement officers. Or we may feel deep sadness or confusion about the political divisions in our country that gave rise to the assault. Or we may feel overwhelming fear that the same thing could happen again.
“We must recognize these emotions and reactions for what they are and name them. These are responses to trauma. Hundreds of police officers, members of Congress, staffers, and journalists experienced a harrowing insurrection while millions of us watched the disturbing events unfold in real time. Intense emotions are a normal and valid response to a traumatic event of this magnitude. If you are grappling with these feelings today, you are not alone.
“We also want to commend all those who spoke out this week and shared their lived experiences with this trauma. It takes courage to bare your soul to the public, but there is power in that vulnerability. Sharing these innermost thoughts and feelings creates space for us all to begin to heal.
“Some are not only dealing with emotional wounds today, but physical ones. We are thinking of the police officers who remain out of work due to injuries sustained during the attack. We are also grieving alongside the officers’ families who lost loved ones - including the four responding officers who died by suicide this year.
“No one should feel that their life is threatened at their place of work, but the reality is the threat level at the U.S. Capitol remains high. We urge the Capitol Police and Congressional employee assistance offices to continue providing much-needed counseling and mental health resources to assist employees in coping with fear and trauma in the workplace.
“For all those struggling, in Washington and beyond, prioritize your mental health today. It is okay to leave a meeting, turn off the news, or even take the day off if you are feeling the weight of this trauma. Remember, mental health is health, and your health comes first. Mental Health America has resources available if you need further support on this difficult day, or in the future.”
If you think you may be experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition, you can get screened for free at MHAScreening.org. If you need someone to talk to today, you can find a warmline near you at mhanational.org/warmlines. If you or someone you know may be in crisis, text MHA to 741741 to reach a trained Crisis Counselor 24/7.