Department of Health Offers Mental Health Help

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- The events of the past two days have touched many people and not just those directly involved in those tragedies. Mental health experts say there are programs for people who want help.

Two grisly homicides in two days. A mother beaten to death by her ex-boyfriend, and a baby thrown to his death by a neighbor.

Mental health experts say people go through a series of emotions after tragedies like these.

"One of the biggest reactions is shock, and then have people get sad, and angry," said Dr. Thomas Hester, chief of the adult mental health division of the Hawaii department of health.

And the emotions are much more raw for those who saw what happened.

"There's this feeling of helplessness because something happened that none of us want to hear about, let alone witness," said Dr. Hester.

But even people who don't have a direct connection to the victims may be affected.

"I think for everybody there's this fear of a loss of feelings of safety," said Dr. Hester. "Maybe a sense that their child may be more vulnerable."

Doctors say it's important to talk about what happened, even with kids who may have a hard time communicating their fears.

"The most important thing is to provide a structure for the child to reassure them that they are in a safe place," said Dr. Stanton Michels, an administrator with the department of health's child and adolescent mental health division.

A safe place in troubling times.

Some of those resources are available 24 hours a day. For more information, click the link on this page.