How the Mind Responds to Endless Bad National News

How the mind reacts to tragedy.
Print icon

Two shootings in two days at military bases in Hawaii and Florida barely made the evening news, and these tragedies didn’t result in much water cooler talk, either.

Is this the new normal?

Not necessarily, according to Dr. Anthony Ng, medical director of the Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network’s East Region, which includes Natchaug and Backus hospitals.

Dr. Ng, a national expert on psychiatric emergencies and mass shootings, said there is so much bad news out there that people pay attention to what is most important, or close, to them.

“There is so much noise out there,” said Dr. Ng. “And there’s some fatigue that goes along with it. People are tuning it out as a coping mechanism.”

Dr. Ng compared it to the workplace – you have a long list of tasks so you need to prioritize. That’s what the mind does in a week where there were several national shootings, a presidential impeachment proceeding and, closer to home here in Connecticut, two teens gunned down by their mother’s boyfriend after a dispute about smoking in the house and a 1-year-old child missing after her mother was murdered.

“If you react to all of these things, you might lose your mind,” said Dr. Ng, who is participating in a PsychSummit online panel discussion about mass shootings Dec. 15 and leading two workshops at a Coalition for Psychiatric Emergencies conference in Arizona Dec. 11. “It’s almost like you have to tune out some of the bad news out there. It takes a toll on you.”

Another concern is people who have suffered through previous tragedies, such as Sandy Hook. Dr. Ng said all of this bad news can negatively impact their mental state and friends and loved ones should talk to them to make sure they are OK.

For information about seeking medical attention to treat anxiety or suicidal thoughts, click here.






What's New

Inpatient Rehab Team Engages Bride-to-be

Laura Day had a lot to look forward to – her two-year old daughter was anticipating Santa’s arrival, she had a baby on the way, and life with her boyfriend was good. In the days before Christmas, Laura was stricken with a stomach bug – nothing out of the ordinary,...


Connecticut’s drug-related deaths up 18 percent in 2019

The numbers tell a sobering story – after a dip in deaths from drug overdoses in 2018, Connecticut recorded 1,200, or 18 percent more, drug-related deaths in 2019, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The one stagnant piece of information in the equation, however, is the fact...

World Lymphedema Day is March 6th

On Friday, March 6th, therapists from Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network will be on hand at several locations throughout the state to provide information about lymphedema services in recognition of World Lymphedema Day.  In preparation for the event, Linda Hodgkins, MS OTR/L CLT-LANA, Clinical Program Manager for HHCRN’s lymphedema services, answers...

11th Healthy Family FunFest set for Feb. 23

Now celebrating its 11th year, Healthy Family FunFest will provide thousands of visitors access to information about healthy living, fitness, health screenings and a wide variety of resources, services, demonstrations, hands-on learning, friendly challenges, and interactive activities. This free event features more than 100 tables showcasing Hartford HealthCare service lines...


Hartford HealthCare to Provide Health Services for UHart Students

Hartford HealthCare and the University of Hartford have announced a partnership for the health system to provide health services to students.  Hartford HealthCare President and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Flaks was joined by University President Greg Woodwood and  UHart alum and Hartford HealthCare staff member Latasha Raineault during halftime of...

Dr. Elena Bortan

Movement Disorders Care Comes to Mystic

Much as the design of the new Hartford HealthCare facility at 100 Perkins Farms Drive in Mystic reflects the vibe of coastal community, the location of specialists from the HHC Ayer Neuroscience Institute’s Chase Family Movement Disorders Center to the facility answers a demand for high-quality care and support in...