Psychiatrist: Trauma victims have higher risk of developing mental illness

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NEWTOWN -

A psychiatrist says that people who experience trauma suffer from much higher rates of mental illness.

Dr. Jeffrey Deitz, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Quinnipiac University, says that most people who experience trauma do not commit suicide, but the trauma does increase their risk.

Newtown police found Jeremy Richman, 49, dead of apparent suicide at Edmond Town Hall where he had an office Monday morning. He was the father of 6-year-old Avielle Richman, who was among the 20 children and six adults killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.

Police say a note was found next to Richman's body, but are not releasing what it said.

Richman's death came days after the suicides of two survivors of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last year.

MORE: Father of Sandy Hook shooting victim found dead

Deitz says people who suffer from traumatic experiences, like losing a child or living through a mass shooting, carry the vulnerability with them for the rest of their lives.

"It's extremely common for someone to re-experience or a worsening of their traumatic experience later in life, usually precipitated by some kind of trigger," he says.

The mother of one of the Parkland survivors who committed suicide said her daughter suffered from survivor's guilt and post-traumatic stress disorder.

An autopsy was performed Tuesday on Richman. The office of the chief medical examiner says details about his death will be released Wednesday.

Newtown officials say they want to make sure people are aware of resources for those who need help.

 

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