I am heartbroken and angry. A sunny July 4th, 2022, a day meant to celebrate our nation’s independence, will now always be remembered as one of our area’s darkest days. In a community similar to our own, where we all have friends and loved ones, a monster selfishly used a high-powered weapon of war to shatter the lives, dreams, and sense of security of families simply gathering to attend a parade. As more details come forward about this tragedy, I am devastated for the families of those whose innocent lives that were taken, and those who are still fighting in the hospital due to their injuries. Not to mention, the trauma experienced by all. It is not only unthinkable that someone would commit this atrocity—but also the fact that under our current gun control policy, the shooter was able to legally obtain his weapon.

Let me be clear: Gun safety and gun control reform will be a legislative priority of mine in the upcoming session. I have been a proud advocate for gun safety measures for many years, during my time in both the House and the Senate. While we have passed some of the strictest gun laws in the country, we must do more to keep these deadly weapons out of dangerous hands. It is deplorable that our current laws allow for semi-automatic weapons, like the one used in the shooting, to be so easily accessible.

In the days and weeks ahead, I will have conversations with my colleagues on ways in which we can protect innocent lives from such atrocious acts of violence. Like you, I am heartbroken and grieving for our neighbors, relatives, and friends who have experienced immense trauma and loss over the past few days. I am committed to prioritizing gun safety legislation in Springfield and I will fight to make sure this kind of tragedy never happens again in Illinois.

If you or your loved ones are struggling with trauma, grief, or other mental health challenges following this tragedy, I encourage you to read on for resources to support your mental health.



Mental Health Resources

NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, has organized Coping with Violence Support Groups to provide extra support to anyone grappling with the emotional aftermath of the violence in Highland Park or any other violence-related trauma. All sessions are free and confidential - please register at least 90 minutes before the session starts.

Violence-related trauma undermines our sense of safety and can damage our mental well-being. While mental illness is a contributing factor in only 4% of violent crimes, the effects of violence are universal, and are not limited to people who were physically harmed or present at a violent event. It is OK not to be OK.


Coping With Community Violence – A NAMI Connection Support Group

NAMI Connection Support Groups are exclusively for people living with a mental health condition, and are led by trained volunteers who have relevant life experience and who understand trauma.

·         Register for Wednesday, July 6 from 7 to 8:30 PM  

·         Register for Friday, July 8 from 5 to 6:30 PM  ‎


Participants may also register at the general Connection registration link – please specify July 6 or July 8.


Coping With Community Violence – A Support Group for All of Us

This session is for people who are not living with a diagnosed mental health condition but who would benefit from support and fellowship of people who have similar experiences and who understand trauma.

·         Register for Wednesday, July 6 from 7 to 8:30 PM  

·         Register for Friday, July 8 from 7 to 8:30 PM  ‎

Participants may also register at the general Family Support Group link – please specify July 6 or July 8.


Grief and Loss Support Virtual Support Group

·         Offered by NAMI’s Cook County-North Shore affiliate. Open to any Illinois resident.

·         Saturdays at 10 AM. Click here to learn more and register.


Resources for Parents

·         Talking to Children: When Scary Things Happen    (en Espanol)

·         Talking to Children About Tragedies and Other News Events

·         Helping Children Cope with Frightening News       (en Espanol)

·         Helping Your Child Cope with Media Coverage of Disasters   (en Espanol)

·         Talking to Teens When Violence Happens      (en Espanol)

·         National Traumatic Child Stress Network

·         Tips for educators and parents in talking to children about violence

(Courtesy of Chicago Sun-Times)  


Other Emotional Support Resources  

·         Disaster Distress Helpline is available 24/7 at 1-800-985-5990: Spanish-speakers should press ‘2’ for 24/7 bilingual support. Staff are trained to help people through large traumatic events including mass shootings.

·         National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) – bilingual operators are available. If you or a loved one are feeling suicidal or are experiencing an acute mental health crisis, do not hesitate to call. If you are or a loved one are in imminent danger, please call 911.

·         Illinois Call4Calm Text Line is available 24/7 by texting the word ‘TALK’ (or ‘HABLAR’) to 552020. You will be called by trained mental health professional from your own community within 24 hours of your for support. Participation is anonymous – your information is used only to help you make the connection.

·         The Illinois Warm Line is available for caring support for mental health and/or substance use challenges at 866-359-7953. Monday-Saturday 8 to 8, except holidays.

·         The NAMI HelpLine, 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) is open 9 am to 9 pm Monday through Friday. You will speak with trained volunteer who will listen, answer questions, and help you find local resources. Visit our interactive map to find any of our 19 Illinois NAMI affiliates.