Hundreds attend trauma seminar to heal from summer rallies

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- In light of the rallies on Aug. 11 and 12, two trauma consultants were invited to speak in downtown Charlottesville for a seminar called, "Trauma: how it affects you and every member of our community."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists emotional trauma as a top public health issue in America.

Tuesday morning, more than 700 people packed into the Paramount Theatre to hear Dr. Allison Sampson-Jackson and Theresa Caldwell speak and get the conversation started about Charlotteville's emotional trauma.

The seminar defined traumatic stress, examined the impact of trauma on the brain, and looked at various behavioral changes.

Attendees were drawn to this topic of conversation as a result of the violent Unite the Right rally and the tiki torch march on the University of Virginia Grounds. Many think the community is still feeling the impacts of both events.

"Since the events of this summer, all of us are suffering from some form of PTSD," said event attendee Leah Puryear. "I felt this would help me and help me work better with my students."

Puryear works with students and says that since the events over the summer, she noticed changes in her students, specifically behavioral changes. She attended the event to better understand what emotions trigger and cause different reactions to trauma.

"We need to figure out the whole story and what really happened on Aug. 12," said Sampson-Jackson. "Part of that story is people came from the outside and part of that story is why did they come here, and what made that conversation okay."

She also says that the first step to healing is having the tough conversations and creating an open space to do so.

Many attendees spoke agreed that just because the headlines have changed and the month of August has passed, Charlottesville is still suffering emotionally and must mentally heal.

The seminar was hosted by hosted by the United Way Early Education Task Force, the Community Mental Health and Wellness Coalition, the Greater Charlottesville Trauma-Informed Community Network, Adiuvans, Piedmont CASA, ReadyKids, and The Women's Initiative.

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