ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Concertgoers and their friends and families impacted by the fatal crowd surge at the East Main Street Armory on Sunday are encouraged to participate in Ubuntu Healing Circles.
The City of Rochester is working with several licensed mental health therapists and social workers to provide this free service so victims can process their grief and trauma.
“We know emotional wounds take longer to heal than physical wounds,” says Melanie Funchess, the CEO and Principal of Ubuntu Village Works.
Thursday morning, Alia Henton-Williams, with the city’s Crisis Intervention Services, joined Funchess to announce the partnership with the city, Ubuntu Healers, and other counselors and mental health professionals. They explain the one-hour sessions provide participants with a confidential, culturally sensitive environment to share some of the ongoing hurt and pain they may be experiencing.
The sessions began Wednesday evening. Funchess says one of the concert attendees explained that they didn’t know why they decided to participate in the Healing Circle but shared they were glad they did.
Henton-Williams explains, “Community trauma is real and devastating and what happened on Sunday has the potential to really impact our community for years to come if we do not interrupt that process.”
“So we all got together”, adds Funchess, “and I said let me call my people so I called up the healers. I literally texted them and said can you do it and when can you do it?”.
Both women say everyone they contacted saw the need and immediately agreed to volunteer their time, a physical space, snacks, and other supplies.
Additional resources are provided to those who may be interested in therapeutic services following each session. Registration is required. Send an email to email@example.com to sign up.
The in-person sessions are held at the Honorable Loretta C. Scott Center for Human Services at 57 St. Paul Street. The next session is scheduled for Sunday, March 12 from 2-3 p.m. virtually. Both an in-person and virtual session will take place Wednesday, March 15 from 5-6 p.m.
Individuals seeking immediate mental health support are encouraged to call the City’s Crisis Intervention Service or PIC team at 211 or they can contact the 24/7 Mental Health Hotline at 988.