WAUKESHA, Wis. — In the wake of Sunday's deadly Christmas parade incident, health experts are offering ways for people to cope and ease some of the trauma you or a loved one may be feeling.
"This will leave a mark. It doesn't mean we can't live with that mark, it doesn't mean that we can't go on just fine, but this will leave a mark," said Dr. Steven Dykstra, a licensed psychologist and clinical program director for Milwaukee County's Behavioral Health Divison.
The wound is still fresh in Waukesha on Monday as parents, children, and the community try to come to terms with what happened just a day ago.
A driver, now identified as 39-year-old Darrell Brooks, sped through the city's Christmas parade where five people were killed and more than 40 others were injured.
"The people who saw it and experienced it and searched for loved ones afterward and went through that kind of trauma, they were injured too," said Dr. Dykstra.
Psychologists say experiencing something like this first-hand can be traumatizing for anyone, no matter your age. There are also a number of ways to help yourself, a child, or a loved one deal with the emotions they may be feeling.
"Fear, anxiety, sadness, grief, the whole spectrum of emotions is normal in the situation. Remember that it's a process. Some days you may feel okay, and everything's fine, you can go forward. And then, maybe later or the next day, you're back in this trauma response and feeling overwhelmed," said Dr. Jessica Juneau, a senior clinical psychologist with the Waukesha Department of Health and Human Services.
For those with children, experts say it's best to let kids express themselves, and talk them through what happened.
"We can approach children and ask them so what do you think? What do you remember about that? Talk about that. Discuss it with each other. Talk about how it made you feel, how frightened you were, how relieved you were," said Dr. Dykstra.
As posts of the tragedy circulate online, doctors say it's best for people to either limit their time or stay off of social media altogether.
"There's second-hand trauma for people who are seeing it. It's valid. You don't have to be in-person to experience it, in order for it to be traumatizing to you."
For anyone in need of help or are experiencing trauma, a list of resources is below:
FREE - 24 hours/7 days a week
Milwaukee County mental health crisis line - 414-257-7222
FREE - 24 hours/7 days a week
Milwaukee County Children’s Mobile Crisis Team - 414-257-7621
FREE - For children and adolescents up to age 23 seeking assistance via phone or having a resource meet them in the community.
Milwaukee County Resource & Referral Line - 414-257-7607
FREE - For children and adolescents up to age 23 seeking resources or support.
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