Zach Cartaya, Columbine School Shooting Victim, Talks Post Traumatic Stress & Sandy Hook

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Connecticut Community Copes With Aftermath Of Elementary School Mass Shooting
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Survivors who have witnessed horrible tragedies, such as Friday’s mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, may suffer psychological damage that may linger long after any physical wounds have healed. Most people eventually heal, CNN reports, but between 8 percent and 15 percent are likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder

If anyone knows more about this situation it would be a survivor during 1999′s horrific school shooting of Columbine, Colorado. “I was 17 when the Columbine shooting happened, I’m 31 now…but I didn’t seek help until I was 26,” said Zach Cartaya, a shooting survivor and co-founder of recently organized Phoenix 999 recovery group.

We were lucky enough to have Zach call in this morning to talk all about PTSD, the effects it had on him, and the resources people can get to help recover.


Children ages 5 to 12 with PTSD may not have flashbacks or problems remembering parts of the trauma, the way adults experience the disorder. Instead, they may show signs in their play, according to the National Center for PTSD.

If you feel as though your child is going through trauma, reach out to a professional. Have them create poems or pictures to help create an outlet for emotion. Or follow these steps. For more information on Zach’s organization Phoenix 999 head here.

–Bryan Carstensen, 92.3 NOW


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