OSU-Tulsa Students Offer Counseling For Those Grieving Orlando Shooting

Thursday, June 23rd 2016, 11:14 pm
By: News On 6

Nearly two weeks since the mass shooting in Orlando, experts say it's not uncommon to still feel grief and anger.

That's why students at OSU-Tulsa are offering free counseling to those who need it.

The director of the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center said, in the wake of the shooting, they were flooded with crisis calls and walk-ins from people feeling emotionally stressed. Now, they're getting the support they need.

After so many lives were taken at a gay nightclub in Orlando, the tragedy hit the Tulsa community hard, and sympathy can sometimes be painful.

"We were, really, seeing quite a bit of our own community here, locally, who were in emotional distress and a lot of fear," said Equality Center director, Toby Jenkins.

Jenkins said people constantly called and showed up looking for validation that they're not in danger.

"I had young people. I had parents. I had people in their 80s and their 90s who were just extremely emotionally stressed over it," Jenkins said.

So, he asked OSU-Tulsa's Counseling Center for help, now student interns and graduate students are volunteering at the center on standby for anyone who needs to talk.

"You know, we just think we need drive-by counseling. You just walk in the door, and there's someone for you to talk to," Jenkins said.

Graduate student Hayley Brown is one of the counselors. She said the initial shock of the tragedy is wearing off, and now people need help coming to terms with what happened.

"Now, they want to, kind of, help process things and work through these feelings of anger and sadness," she said.

Brown and other OSU-Tulsa counseling students spend much of their spare time at the center, ready to serve and listen.

"That shows you what a wonderful city Tulsa is," Jenkins said.

For the time being, you can drop by the Equality Center at 4th and Kenosha any time during regular business hours.