Being safe on social media


By Kara Briggs-Campbell, Special to Tulalip News 

Social media is a player in every aspect of society these days.

Its profound impact hit home for the Tulalip Tribes after the tragic school shooting as an outpouring of grief, resentment and anger seemed to flow in every direction. Tulalip leaders called upon families to stop using social media all together in the weeks that followed, or at least not post in anger something that would be regretted later.

Off the reservation, law enforcement contacted those who posted hateful messages toward the tribe and its members, while regional and national news media scoured social media posts for information and photos of the victims.

Social media is an important form of communication for teens and adults. Increasingly, it is used in suicide prevention and education as way to directly inform teens and young adults, said Dr. Richard McKeon of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

“Social media is here to stay and it is up to those who use it to use it wisely,” he said.

Social channels are increasingly cooperating with organizations that seek to prevent everything from bullying to suicide.

In 2013, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline announced its partnership with Facebook, which allows Lifeline to connect via an online chat with people who are posting suicidal ideas. Users can report suicidal posts by a friend on their news feed by clicking “mark as spam” then on the pop up screen choose, “violence or harmful behavior,” on the next pop up choose, “suicidal content.” Or enter your friends name or contact information.

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin, when announcing the partnership in 2011, said, “We must confront suicide and suicidal thoughts openly and honestly, and use every opportunity to make a difference by breaking the silence and suffering.”

Social media for many of us is more than just a tool. It is a way that we connect, stay in touch, entertain ourselves and share information.

Laura van Dernoot Lipsky, founder and director of the Trauma Stewardship Institute, said finding the people who are healthy for you to be around is the same on social media as it is in real life.

“People need pay very close attention to who they are spending time with,” she said. “It is a turning point in life when you can give thought to who you spend your time with.”

The same way someone in sobriety should avoid the old friends they used to drink and use with in person, they also need to avoid them online.

Social media can be beneficial for people who feel isolated and need to interrupt the isolation, she said. But if people are going online and reading negative stuff that is poison.

“The question is what do you take in? You can drink a lot of water and its good, or you can drink a lot of poison and it will kill you,” Lipsky said.

In a tribal community meeting last month with Dr. Robert Macy who is president of the International Trauma Center in Boston, tribal parents talked about the pressure that social media places on teens.  Some talked about complex decisions to monitor teen’s online presence at the same time as respecting their privacy.

Macy said as long kids are dependent upon their parents to pay the rent and keep the lights on, parents have the responsibility to monitor everything that happens in their rooms or on their Facebook page or Twitter feed. For parents, the attitude must be, “I love you too much to let you hurt yourself.”

Macy had a warning for parents too.

Being too connected electronically can make you disconnected personally.

A 2014 study published in the Journal Academic Pediatrics found that mothers were regularly distracted at meal time by their smart phones. Overall, the study found that the use of cell phones and other devices during meals was tied with 20 percent fewer verbal interactions between mothers and their children, and 39 percent fewer nonverbal interactions. Those who had the highest use of mobile decides during meals were far less likely to provide encouragement to their children, researchers found.

So Macy urged the tribal families gathered to put their smart phones away during family time, and if you visit a friend, leave the phone at home or in the car. Then use the time to make a real person-to-person connection with someone you love.


Tips for students using social media


This list is based upon one published on the website of Carlton University in Canada. The tips are geared to college students, but apply as well to younger teens and for that matter to adults. The concern that Carlton University raises is that your social media posts will last forever on the World Wide Web. It is not overstating to say that this is new era in the history of the world. In past generations you could put your past behind you, you could move away, change your outlook. Now, if you have posted your life digitally on your social media sites, it will live online and be searchable by people in your future.


Privacy: Set all of your social networking accounts to private and maintain your privacy settings so you avoid posting too much personal information. On Facebook, don’t forget to set your privacy settings to include photos and videos that others post of you to avoid being found via basic Web searches.

Don’t over share:  Don’t say anything you wouldn’t normally share with a prospective employer or your mother or your grandmother.

Stay offline when under the influence: If you’ve just spent a night partying with friends, keep your computer off, or your online mistakes could come back to haunt you. Sometimes referred to as “drunk Facebooking,” posting inappropriate comments or photographs while inebriated may cast a negative reflection on your online persona.

Stop Complaining: Avoid speaking negatively about school, current or previous jobs, family or friends. Similarly, don’t update your Facebook status only when you have something negative to say; find a balance so your digital persona doesn’t look too angry.

Separate social networking from job networking: Avoid using social networking sites like Facebook for professional or scholastic networking, and build up your career contacts on other sites like

Generate positive content: Experts agree that the best way to counteract negative content is by generating positive information that will rank high on search engines like Google.


Where can I call for help?

To report an emergency dial 911

National Suicide Prevention Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Snohomish County Crisis Line: 1-800-584-3578

Crisis TEXT Line: Text “Listen” to 741-741

24 Hour Crisis Line: 1-866-427-4747

TEENLINK: 1-866-833-6546

Tulalip Tribes Behavioral Health Family Services: 360-716-4400




United Recovery Meeting, Jan 22

A training from leading experts on suicide prevention and reducing secondary trauma due to social media presented by the Tulalip Tribes, Marysville School District and City of Marysville.

January 22, 6-8 p.m., Tulalip Administration Building Room 162,  6406 Marine Drive Tulalip, WA 98271


United Recovery Community Dinner

Tulalip Healing: Understanding Grief

By Kara Briggs-Campbell, Tulalip News

Grief is a natural human response to losses of all kinds.

The death of a beloved grandparent or an elder parent or a spouse after a long illness typically results in what psychologists call normal or uncomplicated grief. Psychologists say that violent tragedies or unexpected deaths such as occurred in the Tulalip and Marysville communities on Oct. 24 are more likely to result in what they call complicated grief.

In complicated grief a sense of sorrow for the injury and the loss of beautiful, young people may be mixed with feelings such as fear, anger, rage, guilt or a profound sadness and depression. And could be further infused with past hurts or disappointments, including unresolved grief from earlier deaths and traumas.

According to Tulalip Tribes mental health counselor Kay Feather many in the Tulalip tribal family are experiencing these types of mixed emotions as the days turn to weeks since the shooting and the funerals.

The Tulalip Tribes and other tribes across North America have ancient traditions for processing grief and loss that allow extended family and community to share the burden with the immediate family and friends.

In 1969 author Elizabeth Kübler Ross identified the stages of grief as denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. These stages are still recognizable, but psychologists say these are only a starting point to understanding the complex experience of grief.

“A person can get mad one minute, and the next minute they are crying, then they get comfort from someone and yet a minute later, they fall apart and say, ‘I don’t know what’s wrong with me,’” said Dr. Dolores Subia BigFoot, director of the Indian Country Child Trauma Center at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

BigFoot said that part of the reaction in grief response is to assist the mind and body to not overstress and better cope with the enormity of the loss.

The feeling for an individual in grief might be that of having lost their moorings or the sense that this kind of thing isn’t supposed to happen. For children whose parents died in the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York, there was a sense that parents are supposed to come home after work, not die in an unthinkable act.

In our Tulalip and Marysville communities, some people are responding to the recent tragedy with anger. Experts say anger may be understandable, but is also a way to protect oneself from deeper, more raw emotions.

“Anger is a secondary emotion to primary emotions like fear, disappointment or sadness,” BigFoot said. “The way this works is the first emotions surface then are immediately replaced with this secondary emotion. This happens because the primary emotion is overwhelming to the person and it is easier for the person to deal with anger or to be angry than to become completely engulfed by feelings of unbelievable sorrow.”

Feeling the underlying emotions is not a bad thing; rather it leads a person toward a level of acceptance, of being able to return to life, said Tulalip Tribes mental health counselor Kay Feather.

In counseling sessions with people in grief, Feather compares grieving to waves in the ocean. The first wave is a tsunami of trauma. Every memory is a wave, and in time as grief is dealt with, the waves get smaller.

“Grief never goes away,” Feather said. “But it gets softer.”

In time, those who grieve can find a place of acceptance. Although people who survive loss know that nothing will ever be the same, there is a different way of living that is accepting and honors both those lost and those yet alive.

“We all have the capability to grow from tragedy,” BigFoot said. “We have the potential of incorporating our grief and loss into our experience and then turning it into something meaningful that we give to others.”


Where can I call for help?

  • To report an emergency dial 911
  • National Suicide Prevention Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Snohomish County Crisis Line: 1-800-584-3578
  • Crisis TEXT Line: Text “Listen” to 741-741
  • 24 Hour Crisis Line: 1-866-427-4747
  • TEENLINK: 1-866-833-6546
  • Indian Country Child Trauma Center: 1-405-271-8858
  • Tulalip Tribes Behavioral Health Family Services: 360-716-4400



Tribe and district work to help heal the community


A wave of support offered in the wake of the MPHS shooting


Photo/Niki Cleary
Photo/Niki Cleary


By Niki Cleary, Tulalip News 

Immediately following the MPHS shooting, crisis management teams from around the nation and local, mobilized. Cheri Lovre, Executive Director of the Crisis Management Institute was one of them. She specializes in helping communities deal with the aftermath of school shootings and similar tragedies. She spoke at a November 5th, trauma recovery working session between the Tulalip Tribes and the Marysville School District.

November 5th was the first day students at MPHS got back to a typical class schedule following the October 24th tragedy in which a Tulalip boy, Jaylen Fryberg, opened fire on his close friends in the cafeteria, killing 4 of them and himself. Lovre acknowledged that while it was the first regular school day, it will be a long time before anyone affected by the tragedy feels “normal.”

“I followed Jaylen’s schedule,” she said, explaining that she attended all of his scheduled classes. “We had kids in classes so they could see where the empty desks were, the rooms where Jaylen’s desk would be empty. That meant there were times during the day where I was a in a class with four empty desks.”

Acknowledging the loss and the range of emotions is important for teachers, students and even the community, Lovre explained. Right now, many people, adults and children, are still processing the event.

“The first day back we acknowledge it. We told the kids that we don’t have to move today. There was only one class that asked for a new seating chart. I’ve seen more chaos in schools where a child simply died in a car accident than we had in this school,” she said.

“They [the kids] need to see everything unchanged,” she described artifacts of the shooter as well as the victims, photos, school projects that might hang on the walls, even name tags that might be posted, “Taking it down is part of a process.”

For the first day back, the District had 30 grief counselors and therapy dogs at MPHS, and two grief counselors in each other district school. Counselors in the schools are just a piece of the total recovery effort, Lovre said. Much of the healing, or lack of healing will happen at home.

“Kids can only recover as much as the adults in their lives,” she pointed out. “We can’t expect our kids to behave in a way that is not modeled. I’ll say it again. Kids can only get as well as the adults around them.”

Providing overall community outreach and opportunities for the community to grieve and express emotions is one way to move forward after tragedy. The district, Lovre said, may look into greater outreach in order to help kids heal as much as possible.

“In other places one of the things we created were one-stop-shops where parents who needed counseling [also had access to other services],” she recalled. “IF a parent had an issue with food stamps, they could talk with someone at the school and deal with that issue at the same time.”

It’s important to provide wraparound services because as stress adds up, people are less able to deal with it. She also illustrated the types of behavior, including suicides, that current trauma might trigger.  Trauma can also cause learning disabilities, which for a senior in their final year of high school, can derail their graduation goals.

“About 25% of your students have passing thoughts or have attempted suicide,” Lovre said. “Anytime the world is de-stabilized, it bumps those kids a little closer. You end up with kids sleeping in class because they can’t sleep at night, then they don’t have enough credits to graduate. The biochemistry of trauma leaves us on-edge, irritable and easily provoked.”

Every district deals with these issues differently. Lovre explained that the fact that Marysville School District is having the conversations so early, is a positive sign.

When asked about the mixed emotional reactions, Lovre said there is no right or wrong way to deal with the shooting. Some people will react with anger, some with grief, some will have no reaction at all, or will block out the violent act and focus on what came before. Still others will pass from one emotional reaction to another depending on the day, or even the moment. All are common reactions and none are abnormal.

“We often, particularly with a suicide or murder, get stuck on that moment and forget how that person lived. Part of my message is that we need to acknowledge that we lost someone in the fabric of our community. We need to acknowledge that we loved him. Some of you are conflicted about how you feel about him, you loved him but you cannot fathom the event that he did. It’s important that we say out loud that we have both feelings.”
Lovre continued, “There’s a difference between moving on and moving forward. I think it’s a wonderful thing that no one has vandalized the memorials to Jaylen. We are still in the honeymoon stage [of the crisis response]. But we’ll be tipping over that hill soon. The adults in your community will be moving to less tolerant places.

“We start getting into disillusionment, ‘I thought this was a good community, but I guess it’s not.’ Then we get into real anger, blame, and mistrust. Eventually it starts to come back up but it’s not [a straight line], there are dips. But, eventually, the days get better as a community, a family and for each person.”

Keep reading the See-Yaht-Sub and Tulalip News for updates on crisis relief efforts, where to receive counseling and how to help the Tulalip and Marysville communities move forward from tragedy.

Science Says ‘Past is Present’ for Traumas Endured in Indian Country

Carol BerryProfessor Emerita Elizabeth Cook-Lynn spoke to attendees at the Pathways to Respecting American Indian Civil Rights conference in Denver, where she presented the keynote address opening the event that drew more than 350 people. Her writing and teaching center on the “cultural, historical, and political survival of Indian Nations” and she believes that “writing is an essential act of survival for contemporary American Indians.”

Carol Berry
Professor Emerita Elizabeth Cook-Lynn spoke to attendees at the Pathways to Respecting American Indian Civil Rights conference in Denver, where she presented the keynote address opening the event that drew more than 350 people. Her writing and teaching center on the “cultural, historical, and political survival of Indian Nations” and she believes that “writing is an essential act of survival for contemporary American Indians.”

Carol Berry, Indian Country Today Media Network

The historical roots of the baffling self-harm that persists in some Indian communities were explored in various workshops at a recent conference, but a contemporary scientific approach to intergenerational trauma was also offered as a way to understand the stubborn effects of violence and other social ills.

Initially, in a keynote address, Elizabeth Cook-Lynn, of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, professor emerita and author, discussed a United States history focused on the theft of land, termination and genocide.

Cook-Lynn also described the identity difficulties caused by the 1924 Citizenship Act, which conferred citizenship on Indian people in a strategy that sometimes resulted in “people of color” or “minorities,” rather than citizens of differing tribal nations.

But brain science may help in understanding the current and intergenerational outcomes of the tragedies, said Janine D’Anniballe, a director at Mental Health Partners, Boulder, Colorado. She talked as part of a workshop that was one of a dozen offered at a Pathways to Respecting American Indian Civil Rights conference August 8 in Denver.

“The past is present” neurobiologically, she explained, describing triggers of trauma response that can occur years after the original event.

To oversimplify, trauma registers in the reptilian, or primitive, part of the brain, where changes can take place that may trigger dissociation, high-risk behavior, substance abuse, indiscriminate sexual behavior, avoidance or withdrawal, eating disorders, and other attempts to cope.

Amplified states of panic and terror can be calmed by alcohol and some other drugs, while dissociative “flat” states can be offset by high-risk behavior like fast driving and self-harm, including cutting. These behaviors may work in the short term to “rebalance brain chemistry,” but can be destructive in the long term, she said.

The medical/scientific community has not universally accepted this trauma theory and questions remain, but there is strong interest, she said. Studies are now suggesting that women who have suffered trauma have highly reactive structures in the primitive brain that can be transmitted to unborn children, although research is still underway.

“A safe relationship can be a neurological intervention,” she said, citing one remedy.

The conference was sponsored by local, state and federal agencies, educational institutions, and private businesses.