MEMPHIS, Tenn. — One day after the tragic events in Collierville, many wonder just how do you or a community as a whole ever begin to emotionally heal?
It’s something the nearby town of Jonesboro, Arkansas also experienced during a mass school shooting back in 1998.
Mental health experts say counseling will be needed as many try to make sense of this tragedy.
“It is an emotional rollercoaster as you can imagine and we, of course, have provided counseling for every associate,” said Kroger Delta Division spokesperson Teresa Dickerson.
It was 23 years ago this year that two armed students pulled a fire alarm at Westside Middle School in Jonesboro, Arkansas and opened fire on classmates and teachers, killing five people as they evacuated the building.
Sandra Worlow provided counseling. Today, she’s the director of the Methodist Healthcare Employee Assistance Program.
“Well, you don’t make sense of it,” Worlow said. “I mean, going to the grocery store ought to be a safe place to go, but simple trip and that many people were injured or killed, you just can believe it’s happening.”
She says some healing begins when to lean on others to talk about what you’re feeling.
“The thing you need to do most is connect with other people. You need to talk about your feelings and express those thoughts but take care of yourself,” she said.
Worlow recommends people seek assistance from a counselor. Focus on your faith, find a support group, and limit media and social media viewing because this could be like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for an entire community.
“The community as a whole, there will be symptoms of PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, just from the shock of it and the trauma. Even though you were not at the Kroger store that day, it’s still your neighborhood,” she said.
Worlow said anniversaries and other events will spark memories over days, weeks, and months. That’s why it’s important to seek help and talk to others.