SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – As another stressful week wraps up, in what has been an extremely challenging last couple of years for many, KRON4 is taking a moment to talk about mental health. The tragedy in Uvalde, TX can be traumatic, even for people who are not directly connected to the shooting.
Dr. Ronald Mah is a licensed marriage and family therapist based in Castro Valley. He says people should be open and honest with themselves about what contributes to their stress, so their stress can be addressed.
“Own it and be real about it. When you’re anxious, be anxious. When you’re afraid, be afraid. When you’re sad, be sad. Don’t deny it, because when you deny it, you tend to bottle it up and when you bottle it up, it’ll eat you up alive and also forms that bitterness and anger that motivates people to do hateful, dangerous things.”
Dr. Mah, who works with kids through head-start programs, said it’s important to talk to young people about tragedies like the Texas killings. He added, however, that it’s important that adults do so calmly. He said kids can sense a person’s stress through body language, even if their words are reassuring.
“Unfortunately, it’s an opportunity for us to teach children too,” Mah said. “That when they are upset, when there are issues, when they are sad, when they think things aren’t fair, that there’s ways to handle it, that they still can be kind and sensitive to other people.”
It’s also important to enjoy the positive things in life, Dr. Mah said. He said it is unhealthy to dwell on the negative, especially if it’s out of your control.
“Things that you can’t do, you can’t do,” he said. “Things that you’re not used to, you might learn to stretch yourself to get there. But you know, you do what you can do, and you figure that out, and that gives people a sense of power and control.”