WEST HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA.com) — The mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando has led some members of the LGBT community in Southern California to feel unsafe.

“I didn’t go to pride this weekend,” said Neil Schadeberg, an LGBT community member. “I stayed home and uh … I was afraid that something was gonna happen.”

And he’s not alone. The Los Angeles LGBT Center in Hollywood has had people cancel their scheduled counseling sessions because they were too afraid to show up.

“I think what this does is it creates a visceral trauma for people. People are feeling unsafe,” said Diane Kubrin, the director of mental health at the center, which is open to anyone in the LGBT community to walk-in and
receive free counseling.

“Grief and sadness is a normal response to this but if you’re daily functioning is so affected that you’re not getting out of bed and you’re too frightened to be in the world, to go to the grocery store, it’s probably time to get some help,” Kubrin said.

Kubrin offered the following recommendations for anyone whose mental well-being has been affected by the mass shooting:

• Self-care, which includes: eating well, getting enough sleep, and remaining active;
• Practicing breathing exercises;
• Allowing yourself to feel a range of emotions;
• Channel those emotions into something productive, like volunteer work.

Katie Templeton, who is transgender, is a counselor at the center. She admits she was terrified to come to work Monday.

“If I have anything to say to my brothers and sisters out there, I think just, hang in there because things will happen and this isn’t an easy life,” she said.

Meanwhile, Garry Bowie, the executive director of the mental health counseling service, Being Alive, says in some cases, those struggling have expressed their feelings through social media.

“I did see one posting as an example last night,” he told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO. “Somebody said, ‘I’m having a flashback, a PTSD episode.”

Bowie said it’s important people express their feelings.

“We don’t want them to internalize this feeling where it becomes debilitating,” Bowie said. “At the same time, we don’t want them to express it in ways that they may take it out on people or within themselves.”

The Los Angeles LGBT Center has planned a vigil Monday night in front of City Hall in downtown Los Angeles.

For mental health services:

Los Angeles LGBT Center
323-993-7669
Free walk-in counseling is available 8 a.m.- 8 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Long Beach LGBTQ Center
562-434-4455
Free walk-in counseling is available 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. this week only from Monday through Saturday (amd by appointment only after Saturday)

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