Skip to Content

Navigating Emotional Aftermath: Strategies from Healthcare Professionals After a Mass Tragedy

Emotional Resilience in the Face of Tragedy

In the wake of the mass shooting at Michigan State University on February 13, 2023, Dr. Denny Martin, the then-President of Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Michigan, faced the public’s eye not just as a healthcare professional but as a human deeply affected by the crisis. During a press briefing, his emotional response underscored the profound personal and professional impact such events have on those at the frontline. His openness about the emotional toll was a powerful reminder of the vulnerability and humanity of those who care for us during our darkest hours.

Maintaining Professional Composure Under Extreme Stress

Cori Dropping, the Emergency Department Manager at Sparrow Hospital, emphasized the critical balance between empathy and professional composure required in crisis situations. The healthcare team’s ability to manage their emotions while providing care under immense pressure was crucial. In response to the event, Sparrow Hospital implemented counseling services to help staff process their feelings and experiences, fostering a supportive environment essential for their emotional well-being.

Supporting Recovery and Ongoing Resilience

The hospital’s approach to emotional recovery extended to therapeutic resources, including therapy dogs, to support not only the victims but also the caregivers themselves. Dr. Ben Mosher noted these efforts were integral in helping patients regain a sense of control and normalcy. As the community and especially students returned to the MSU campus, the lingering emotional scars highlighted the need for continued support and understanding, illustrating the long-term impact of such tragedies on a community’s mental health landscape.