In response to the April 15 bombing incident in Boston, the Town of Newtown established a temporary support center at Cyrenius Booth Library, 25 Main Street. That support center is further extending its hours of operation through the weekend for community members to come for support, guidance, or simply to be with one another, according to Health District Director Donna Culbert.
The library support center will be open Friday, April 19, from 11 am to 5 pm, as well as Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 pm.
“As we continue to navigate through our own response to the tragic events in Newtown, the events in Boston are unsettling and will impact each of us differently,” Ms Culbert said. “The temporary support center will be a location for community members to gather should you so desire, and we will work diligently to make resources and support available to suit your needs.”
Rabbi Shaul Praver of Congregation Adath Israel in Newtown is also welcoming anyone from the community to contact him to access a network of counseling professionals who are members of his congregation. Rabbi Praver said he will also be addressing the Boston tragedy during this weekend’s services.
He said while nobody from the community or the congregation has reached out to talk about being retraumatized by the April 15 attack, he expects the incident is weighing heavily on many members of the community, particularly Newtowners who were attending or participating in the Boston Marathon.
“We know there were representatives of some families who lost loved ones here in Newtown there at the marathon,” he said. “While we haven’t received any calls yet, I know clergy around town are talking and trying to be prepared if anyone needs to deal with their feelings about this latest event.”
He said one of the mental health professionals among his congregation just completed specialized mental health training to help individuals deal with traumatic incident stress.
“What we experienced in Newtown was bad, and for some I know the Boston incident made it worse, but we will get through as a community,” observed Rabbi Praver. “We saw the same type of resilience among Bostonians as we saw here in Newtown. But there are still a lot of raw emotions, so I encourage anyone who is feeling bad to reach out.”
If there is still a need for further services, Ms Culbert said hours may be extended into next week. Professionals including Rabbi Praver will be available on call, with one-on-one assistance if needed for individuals or families.
The local health official as well as professionals staffing the center encourage residents who feel sad, anxious, depressed, angry, or fearful because of the bombing incidents in Boston to utilize and reach out to those mechanisms of support that are found to be soothing and helpful: family, friends, faith-based organizations, neighbors, counselors, exercise, art, work.
Ms Culbert and Rabbi Praver also advise residents who are being affected by continuing news updates on the incident to turn off or limit exposure to the coverage.
“Most importantly, don’t be alone. Be with one another,” Ms Culbert is advising. “It’s also important for people to enjoy the good weather, and to try and do things for themselves that make them feel good.”
For additional information on the support center, call the Health District at 203-270-4291. To reach Rabbi Praver, call 203-209-4662.