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Counseling center offers help after Texas school shooting

January 6, 2019

SANTA FE, Texas (AP) — A Methodist church in Santa Fe has been home to a counseling center since a high shooting that killed 10 people last May.

The Santa Fe Strong Resiliency Center was set up at Aldersgate United Methodist Church to aid in the emotional and mental health needs of people affected by the shooting at Santa Fe High School, The Galveston County Daily News reported.

The multipurpose counseling center opened a day after the May 18 shooting and offers up to six counselors to talk with people throughout the week. A $1.8 million state grant pays for the center.

Director Carol Gaylord said the center has helped hundreds of people.

“In the beginning, people were just kind of trickling in. I think they weren’t used to us being there and they were in shock as well. But that changed when school started, and especially over the holidays. We’ve probably seen a 50 percent increase in clients,” Gaylord said.

While people initially come to talk about school violence, Gaylord notes the center’s staff is trained to address other issues as well.

“With more counselors, we’ve been seeing more clients,” Gaylord said. “We’re getting referrals from a lot of different places, not just Santa Fe. We try to be there for everyone.”

The grant for the center will pay to keep it up until the fall. Center officials are hoping for additional funds to stay open after that.

“We can’t say for sure that they’ll renew the grant, but we assume as long as there’s a need we’ll definitely reapply,” Gaylord said. “Santa Fe didn’t have this type of service here before. Whether there’s always been a need I can’t say, but I would say every community has a need for mental health counseling. I think people see us as a vessel of hope.”

The suspected shooter, who was a student, remains in custody.

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Information from: The Galveston County Daily News, http://www.galvnews.com

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