Only twelve weeks have passed since 58 concertgoers were killed and over 500 sustained injuries during a shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. And although over $20 million has been raised for those victims, funds are already running low for those in need.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the Las Vegas Victims Fund has been forced to limit what payments are distributed because the need is just too great.
“The overwhelming number of victims prevents us from providing individual monetary payments to those suffering psychological trauma, though we are committed to identifying mental health services to assist this critical segment of the survivor population,” Scott Nielson, chairman of the Las Vegas Victims Fund Committee, told the publication.
This means that thousands of concertgoers who experienced the shooting firsthand are not eligible to receive financial help for post-traumatic stress disorder treatment.
During the days and weeks that followed the shooting, country stars and fans donated their money to the Las Vegas Victims Fund, as well as the Music City Cares Fund and the Red Cross. But with what seems like an endless stream of tragedies following in its wake, it’s easy to forget that help is still needed after physical wounds have healed.
Organizations like MusiCares, Musicians On Call and the Music Health Alliance immediately stepped in to offer their services to anyone in the music industry who needed counseling or mental health assistance after the shooting.
But with thousands of everyday country fans now back in their hometowns across the country, the burden of seeking out help now falls on the victims themselves. Those who escaped the festival without physical injury may still grapple with issues like sensitivity to loud sounds, flashbacks, anxiety, bursts of rage and severe depression.
The first effects of post-traumatic stress disorder can even emerge years after the event. Dealing with these issues can take many more years of ongoing therapy and treatments, many of which are not covered by individual insurance plans.
Currently, the Las Vegas Victims Fund plans to distribute funds through the end of January. As of this month, there is no major charity fund set up specifically to help victims through the long-term effects of the shooting. Major fundraising efforts, such as charity shows, have lessened in recent weeks.
Although moving forward is healthy part of healing, it is important that we do not forget those who still deal with the events of Oct. 1, 2017 each day.