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Virginia Beach residents seek more help through VB Strong Center

The VB Strong Center is seeing more first-time clients two years after the Municipal Center mass shooting.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Nearly two years later, the emotions from the shooting tragedy in Virginia Beach are still impacting people. 

The increase of violence across the country, paired with the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic, have more people reaching out to Hampton Roads counselors. 

The entire country is grieving from the COVID-19 pandemic, mass shootings in Georgia and Colorado and new information being released about the 2019 mass shooting in Virginia Beach.

“What we really want folks to hold on to, is that any reaction they are having right now is a normal reaction to an abnormal event," said VB Strong Center program manager Rosanne Foggin. 

Foggin said more people have sought out the center's services since the beginning of 2021.

“There’s a lot of different reasons that we’ve seen people come in for the first time into the VB Strong Center," Foggin said. "When I say coming in, they are coming in virtually. Some of it is seeing events on TV. Some of it is just realizing, maybe they need a little more help now than they thought they would."

The Virginia Beach Psychiatric Center is also seeing more clients. CEO Kurt Hooks said there needs to be more awareness of mental health.

“The reality of the prevalence of mental health issues - in our community and all communities - is something that is still not spoken of enough," Hooks said. 

Hooks said some ways to cope were to find support in family and close friends, have social connections, get enough exercise and prioritize good sleep. 

Hooks and Foggin want to keep Virginia Beach strong.

“We were extremely resilient and responsive and came together, and we need to sustain that," said Hooks.

“There’s no book out there that says there’s a right or wrong way to heal, and so our goal is that people understand we’re here to meet them where they are," Foggin said.

The VB Strong Center counselors are standing by for anyone who needs help in the grieving and recovery process.

If you know anyone who needs help regarding the shooting in Virginia Beach, you can call the VB strong center at 757.507.7200.