Members of the Yakama Nation Behavioral Health program reached out to White Swan community members with free grief and loss services Monday.
The effort was in response to a killing spree Saturday in White Swan that left five people dead. Four suspects alleged to have been involved have been apprehended, according to authorities.
As members of the small community processed their loss, officials from the health program reached out to offer counseling.
One representative went door-to-door with flyers sharing the center’s available resources, while others stood at a pop-up table outside of the White Swan Health Clinic making the information on services available to anyone interested.
Chestina Dominguez, project coordinator for center’s suicide prevention program, said that four community members had come to the pop-up for information on services such as grief counseling as of early afternoon.
“They were a little tearful, so that’s really good that they came to reach out,” she said. “It’s totally normal to feel this way.”
Some community members seemed to be in shock Monday, she said. But the purpose of the program’s presence was to ensure White Swan community members didn’t feel alone in the tragedy, said Dominguez, a Yakama Tribe member from Toppenish.
“I really felt for the community,” Dominguez said. “As a tribal member, my whole community is my whole reservation, so it’s not just my town, it’s not just Wapato and Harrah, it’s all of us. So I just wanted to come out for my community.”
Ashley Douglas, another representative from the Yakama health program, was raised in White Swan and returned Monday to meet with community members at their homes. She knocked on doors and shared flyers on how to cope with mental health struggles and mental illness, suicide prevention and self care.
“Just feeling the tragedy that we’ve just had, it really weighs on my heart,” she said. “I hope that they see we see their lives as important. Closing off emotions isn’t the best way to cope with such tragedy.”
By providing free mental health resources, she said she hopes to show the White Swan community that it could overcome the incident.
The pop-up was an effort to address the different ways that people grieve, said Adreanne Hamilton, the community natural helper for the suicide prevention program.
For more information or access to resources, contact the Yakama Indian Health Service at 509-865-2102.