Set Free Ministries’ Dean Vander Mey Explains Trauma and Recovery in the Wake of Mass Shootings

The initial shock of three mass shootings within seven days may be wearing off. Kids in El Paso, Texas, headed back to school this week, and hundreds gathered over the weekend to remember victims in Dayton, Ohio. However, life is far from “back to normal.”

Now begins the journey through trauma recovery for individuals and communities. Set Free Ministries’ Dean Vander Mey says it’s a complex endeavor.

“People who have been traumatized oftentimes cannot grow spiritually or emotionally past that time of trauma, so you have a lot of people who will compartmentalize their pain, and they hold [on to] it,” he explains.

“There’s a different dimension to this and a different way to heal. Jesus says, ‘I’ve come to set captives free’.”

Fight, flight, or freeze: common responses to trauma

Though people respond differently to trauma, Cascade Behavioral Health Hospital identifies some “common” symptoms and responses here. Sometimes, Vander Mey says, traumatic events leave people spiritually and emotionally “trapped.”

Suppose a group of 100 people experience a traumatic event during their lifetime. According to estimates cited here, 25 members of the group will develop PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Katey Hearth,