By Phillip Milano
Kristin Alberts picked up her phone and typed out a text to her friend at Episcopal High School Tuesday after hearing about the shooting tragedy at the school.
“Can we help?” the director of Jacksonville University’s Student Counseling Center wrote her friend, a neighbor who works in career counseling at Episcopal.
Yes, came the reply.
Episcopal Head of School Dale Regan was shot and killed on campus Tuesday by a teacher who was fired earlier in the day. The teacher later died after turning the gun on himself.
Alberts, a licensed psychologist for the past decade, and JU outreach coordinator Steven Montesinos, a licensed mental health counselor, spent time helping with grief counseling and crisis support for students and staff.
JU is working on providing possible additional assistance for Episcopal staff, and for students as they return to the school, Alberts said.
“Dale Regan had a large impact that went through generations. It’s clear what a caring and supportive community they have at the school,” she said. “I was impressed with how articulate and thoughtful the students were in dealing with the situation. We were also helping them better understand the strengths they already have within that community.”
Alberts said whenever a tragedy such as this occurs, it’s important to reach out, and to realize that coping strategies are available.
“It’s normal to have a wide variety of emotional reactions when you’re going through a difficult time like this,” she said. “It’s natural and helpful to reach out to others and to talk about it -- to take care of yourself.”
For more information and expert commentary: Dr. Kristin Alberts, director of the Counseling Center, Jacksonville University, (904) 256-7180, firstname.lastname@example.org