St. Patrick Hospital

Missoula's Providence St. Patrick Hospital

A volunteer organization of trauma specialists is putting together a pair of events in Missoula on Saturday, Oct. 7, to help anyone who was present during Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, which killed 59 people and injured hundreds more.

Jennifer Wills, one of the volunteers with the Missoula Valley Critical Incident Stress Management team, said the first session begins at 1:30 p.m. in the Durand training room at Providence St. Patrick Hospital. The 1 1/2-hour event is specifically for survivors of the shooting who were actually present on Sunday in Las Vegas.

Wills was an officer at the Tucson Police Department for 21 years, retiring in 2007 at the rank of lieutenant. She is pursuing a doctorate in clinical psychology at the University of Montana and as part of that works with veterans with trauma issues at the Veterans Affairs center in Salt Lake City.

The Missoula Valley Critical Incident Stress Management team is an all-volunteer group that typically works with law enforcement and other first responder agencies following traumatic situations.

Wills said the hospital reached out to the organization to host the session in part because a group of employees had been at the scene.

The event will include licensed clinical social workers, chaplains and other trauma response professionals working with survivors of the shooting to develop trauma recovery techniques and create a support structure.

At 4 p.m. Saturday, an hour after the first session ends, the Missoula Valley CISM team will have a second seminar for close friends and family of survivors of the shooting.

“These are people who were clearly affected but also want to know how to support their loved ones,” Wills said.

Both sessions are free.

Wills said she knows that many people have felt strongly affected by the Las Vegas shooting, but wants to reinforce that Saturday’s events are only for direct survivors and their family and close friends.

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