Trauma surgeon speaks on how to handle the emotional trauma of the Uvalde tragedy

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – As many mourn the lives lost in Uvalde, paying their respects and honoring the victims, several are reminded of the pain felt a year ago on May 24.

“On a day like today, to not think about the 19 children that died and the two teachers who did not survive this,” Lillian Liao said.

Liao, a University Health trauma surgeon who has responded to Uvalde and Sutherland Springs traumatic events, spoke with KSAT on mental health.

She said gratitude is a must for her mental health, especially as she remembers the lives lost, but also the survivors she and her team were able to help.

“As a hospital system, we are grateful for the four patients that we were able to save, to see them do truly amazing things throughout the last year, so we are grateful for that,” Liao said.

Liao explained that mass casualty events take a toll on everyone, those directly involved and those who are just watching from afar.

“School-age children in particular, as they hear about other children experiencing mass shooting events at their schools that can impact everyone,” Liao said.

She advises parents to look for behavioral changes, like good grades to bad grades, skipping class, or acting out.

Liao added that behavioral changes also apply to adults.

“Change in eating habits, change in drinking habits, change in sleep patterns, not showing up to work,” Liao said.

If you or someone you know wants additional help, University Health offers resources you can visit.

About the Authors

John Paul Barajas is a reporter at KSAT 12. Previously, he worked at KRGV 5 in the Rio Grande Valley. He has a degree from the University of Houston. In his free time, he likes to get a workout in, spend time on the water and check out good eats and drinks.

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