How communities recover from mass shooting trauma

Massacres, like the El Paso shooting, can be especially traumatizing for kids.

Long after the shootings in El Paso and Dayton fade as national headlines, the communities will be left to deal with the trauma those shooters left behind.

Robin Gurwitch, a professor of psychology at Duke University, said mass shootings can impact individuals and communities in unique ways and require specific responses.

“When you mix death and trauma together, it becomes particularly hard," Gurwitch, who studies how children process trauma and disasters, said on ABC News’ “The Debrief.” "The mourning, the bereavement, as well as the trauma can make it particularly difficult for survivors."

The Wal-Mart in El Paso, Texas, was packed with kids doing back-to-school shopping with their families when the massacre began there on Saturday morning. The Dayton, Ohio, shooting happened overnight on Sunday, but it unfolded in the city's busy commercial center.

Children who survive or witness mass shootings need to see how their role-models demonstrate resilience in order to develop those skills for themselves, Gurwitch said.

“We need to make sure that adults provide good role models. So even if we are anxious and worried and upset, that we can present to our children that we can cope with this, that we will get through this,” she said.

Gurwitch added that shootings in traditionally safe spaces like churches, schools and shopping malls disturb survivors and the surrounding communities more than other disasters might.

“Our world view has been completely turned upside down,” she said.

Watch the full segment in the above video.