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Kansas City mental health expert weighs in on reactions to violence

Dr. Sasha Hamdani
Posted at 9:39 PM, May 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-03 23:53:44-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Seeing and hearing about all the violence in a community can be sickening, according to Kansas City area doctors.

"Your amygdala starts spinning out of control, and then once you get into that situation, you can't rationalize your way out of it," Dr. Sasha Hamdani, a psychiatrist at the Psychiatry Associates of Kansas City, said. "So yes, you can have these situations where you just get absolutely overwhelmed with it."

It makes it harder that the world is reopening at a time when psychiatrists usually see mood shifts in patients coming out of the winter months.

"Everybody is going to be anxious, but I think it's how anxious are you and how difficult is this transition going to be, and knowing when to seek out help," Hamdani said.

Emerging from the past year of social isolation could potentially change the way people treat others, according to Hamdani.

"You're moving into a situation where you're having to accommodate to everybody else's needs," Hamdani said. "Your threshold might be just significantly lower so you might just get more irritable, more anxious."

Physical signs associated with anxiety include rapid and shallow breathing, problems with falling asleep, lacking an appetite and having racing thoughts.

Some might shy away from speaking up when experiencing signs of anxiety, but loved ones and friends can lend a hand.

"Just opening up a communication about this and starting from a nonjudgmental place," Hamdani said. "So, starting to talk to them about, 'Hey, these are the things I've noticed. Is this something that you've noticed as well? How can I best help you?'"

More people are reporting symptoms of anxiety disorder and/or depressive disorder, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), which found that four in 10 adults at the start of the year were reporting symptoms. From January to June 2019, one in 10 adults reported symptoms.

"We have to kind of figure out how we're going to calibrate and recalibrate back into what our normal situation was," Hamdani said.

Mental health resources:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline


  • Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center (Douglas County): 785-843-9192
  • Central Kansas Mental Health Center (Saline, Dickinson, Ellsworth, Lincoln, Ottawa): 785-823-6322 or 800-794-8281
  • Crosswinds (Chase, Coffey, Greenwood, Lyon, Morris, Osage, Wabaunsee Counties): 620-343-2211 local, 800-279-3645 Toll Free (8 a.m. - 5 p.m.); 620-343-2626 Local, 866-330-3310 Toll Free (after hours)
  • Elizabeth Layton Center (Franklin and Miami Counties): 800-241-1266
  • Family Service and Guidance Center of Topeka (Shawnee County children’s services): 785-232-5005
  • High Plains Mental Health Center (Cheyenne, Decatur, Ellis, Gove, Graham, Logan, Ness, Norton, Osborne, Phillips, Rawlins, Rooks, Rush, Russell, Sheridan, Sherman, Smith, Thomas, Trego, Wallace Counties): 785-628-2871 or 800-432-0333
  • Horizons Mental Health Center (Barber, Harper, Kingman, Pratt, Reno Counties): 620-694-1099
  • Iroquois Center for Human Development (Clark, Comanche, Edwards, Kiowa Counties): 620-723-2656 or 888-877-0375
  • Johnson County Mental Health Center (Johnson County): 913-268-0156
  • Kanza Mental Health and Guidance Center (Brown, Doniphan, Jackson, Nemaha Counties): 785-742-3666 (after-hours emergency line)
  • Labette Center for Mental Health Services (Labette County): 620-421-3770 or 800-303-3770 (after-hours emergency line)
  • Pawnee Mental Health Services (Clay, Cloud, Geary, Jewell, Marshall, Mitchell, Pottawatomie, Republic, Riley, Washington Counties): 800-609-2002
  • Prairie View Inc. (McPherson, Marion, Harvey Counties): 800-992-6292
  • South Central Mental Health Counseling Center (Butler County): 866-660-3300
  • Southeast Kansas Mental Health Center (Anderson, Linn, Allen, Bourbon, Woodson, Neosho Counties): 866-973-2241
  • Spring River Mental Health & Wellness Center (Cherokee County): 866-634-2301
  • Sumner Mental Health Center (Sumner County): 800-369-8222
  • The Center for Counseling and Consultation (Barton, Stafford, Rice, Pawnee Counties): 800-875-2544
  • The Guidance Center (Atchison, Jefferson, Leavenworth Counties): 888-260-9634
  • Valeo Behavioral Health (Shawnee): 785-234-3300
  • Wyandot Center for Community Behavioral Healthcare (Wyandotte County): 913-788-4200


Kansas City metro
The Whole Person
Social service community resources
Greater Kansas City Mental Health Coalition
Tri-County Mental Health Services
KC Care Health Center

The Crisis Text Line, Text MOSAFE to 741741

The Veteran's Crisis Line, text 838255