Three suicides in the span of a week have devastated communities linked by mass shootings. The most recent involved a father whose daughter was killed during the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.
The two others were teen survivors of last year’s massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The tragic acts have spurred emotions among many 1 October Survivors.
“It gives me anxiety for whatever reason,” said Leslie Alworth, 1 October survivor.
When it comes to opening up about her feelings, Alworth said: “I have to do this because I’ve just been thinking about it.” “Like I have trouble going to sleep last night. You think of the families. You think of everybody that it’s impacted and it almost feels like Route 91 happened yesterday again.”
Despite never knowing the people who took their lives, the 1 October survivor says she feels like they share a connection with other survivors of mass shootings.
“You feel like you know these people; their families just because we’ve all been a part of something so horrific, so you can empathize with everything that they could possibly be feeling,” Alworth said.
However, the emotional fall out following tragedies has sparked worry among her and others.
“It brings up that whole conversation again about making sure that we stay in contact with each other and we know where resources are for help,” said Stacie Armentrout, a 1 October survivor.
Armentrout says it’s also essential for everyone to check on the children survivors as well. Armentrout and her family survived the 1 October shooting. She says the suicides reminded her teens of their own personal struggles.
“It’s just a reminder that they’re going to handle it way differently than us adult,” said Armentrout. “One child, she doesn’t like to talk about it because she thinks that if she doesn’t talk about it, it will go away and we have to remind kids, it doesn’t work that way.”
“It’s too much to handle all by yourself, without a doubt,” said Alworth.
The Vegas Strong Resiliency Center encourages any 1 October survivors struggling with the recent suicides to reach out for help. The center’s number is 702-455-2433.