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City of Buffalo offers support services to all those in need 24 hours after mass shooting

Experts say, processing difficult emotions are tough, but especially during times of trauma, it's important to let people know how you are feeling.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Buffalo is hurting and in desperate need of healing. 

It's been 24 hours since a teenage white gunman opened fire in a Tops Supermarket on Buffalo's eastside killing 10 people and injuring three others. 

Eleven of the 13 people shot were African American. 

This investigation into this violent act just started, already local and top law enforcement say, based on evidence they have collected, hate was a motivating factor. 

So, how do we as individuals and as a community move forward? Especially when the pain feels so strong? The anger...the frustration...the confusion.

Gizelle Stokes is a mental health practitioner born and raised in Buffalo. She's the owner of The Mindful Institute LLC, where she teaches businesses and individuals how to use different coping techniques to help navigate life. 

Stokes also knows that Tops quite well, it's her neighborhood supermarket. 

"We know as those that live in that area, that work in that area, that are connected to the community and that grew up in that community, that this will impact all of us," Stokes said. "It's almost unfathomable."

Processing trauma can often be an emotional rollercoaster - one day up, another day down. This is why the community is doing everything possible to let people know how important it is to talk about their emotions and to seek help if things start to feel too difficult to manage. 

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"Anger is a very real emotion and it's a valid emotion. Do we allow it to consume us? I would hope not. You know, sadness and sorrow are normal emotions. Should we allow it to consume us? I hope not. But when you are already operating, when you're in your cup is not really full. And things like this happen. It really can be the thing that separates you from having a mental breakdown."

Dr. Wendy Weinstein, a local psychiatrist, agrees and says it's important that people voice what they're feeling inside. Even if doesn't make sense. It's important not to let things fester, when you do things can intensify."

"The anxiety becomes so unbearable, the anger becomes so unbearable, the pain becomes so unbearable that they can't function and that's what's so concerning to me because that will just increase this divide."

Monday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. free mental health and counseling services will be offered at the Johnnie B. Wiley Pavilion at 1100 Jefferson Avenue. Experts will be available throughout the day to listen.

Right now...."breathe, just breathe and help ground yourself. At this moment, right now, you are safe," Stokes stresses. 

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