BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – As Dadeville reels from a deadly mass shooting over the weekend, the Gun Violence Archive has already reported eight more mass shootings since then, bringing the total number of mass shootings in the U.S. so far this year to 165.

Mental health experts say the impact of a shooting like this goes far beyond any shocking statistic — the fallout of gun violence can last a lifetime, for both survivors and even community members who weren’t at the scene.

“There’s going to be a stage of shock where your thought processes literally do not work,” Larry Deavers, executive director of the Family Counseling Service of West Alabama, said.

Deavers explains what survivors experience in the immediate aftermath of mass violence. He urged their loved ones to be patient with them and enlist the help of professionals.

“Allow them the freedom of coping with that stress, that trauma in their own way. Healing does not mean going back to the way things were before,” Deavers said.

As they battle fear, depression and PTSD, little things from sudden noises to social media can take on whole new meanings.

“It can kind of show up in lots of ways that we don’t expect. Even somebody’s facial expression or tone of voice can set some triggers in motion,” Deavers said.

Dean Kilpatrick is the director of the National Mass Violence Victimization Resource Center and a clinical psychologist originally from Birmingham. He said the research center has conducted studies over several years on six communities that endured mass violence in the U.S.

They surveyed almost 6,000 people, and their research revealed that even years later, many of them were still experiencing higher rates of PTSD, anxiety, depression, substance abuse and fears of mass violence — even people who were not at the shooting.

“It violates our sense of safety and normalcy when you can’t go to a birthday party without a gunfight breaking out,” Kilpatrick said.

However, Kilpatrick says the more you show up for those grieving and hurting after a mass shooting, the better healing is for everyone.

“You don’t want to say, ‘I understand what you’re going through’ because you don’t. We can’t,” Kilpatrick said.

“Sometimes the most powerful thing we can do is just be present with somebody,” Deavers said.

If you or someone you know needs help in the wake of Dadeville, you can find resources on the National Mass Violence Victimization Resource Center website.