Navy Yard shooting: Workers seek counseling

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - James Slater is among thousands of Navy Yard workers to seek counseling after the September 16th shooting. He says it was just good to have a chat.

“Hearing shots fired sheltering in place for a few minutes it was really a relief for me to be able to go and talk to a professional,” Slater says.

The vice admiral in charge of Navy bases worldwide invited ABC7 aboard the Navy Yard to highlight a vast array of services available to both active duty and civilian personnel like Slater.

Admiral William French says the mass shooting left many here deeply shaken. In addition the FBI release of video of gunman Aaron Alexis angered many and caused an uptick in requests for counseling.

“We are expending a lot of time and effort to make sure that were taking care of those employees or anybody that was on the Washington Navy Yard that might have been impacted we're dedicated to continuing that effort as long as it takes,” French says.

And so a Navy psychiatric rapid response team coordinates its efforts to comfort.

“Most people will experience initial shock and horror sadness anger but then with time most people get better,” says Commander Ingrid Pauli.

Elsewhere, a civilian team schedules group and individual sessions for civilian workers. There is even a team of therapy dogs on hand from a volunteer group called hope dogs. In all, 7,200 people have had at least some contact with the services.

Slater says it helps.

“I walked in and walked out half an hour later and I felt much better,” he says.