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Counselors share ways victims, community can cope with trauma following Kroger mass shooting

Therapists said victims may experience anger outbursts, anxiety, survivor’s guilt or PTSD.

COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. — Mental health, especially after a traumatic event like last week’s Kroger mass shooting, is crucial for those who are grieving.   

Kroger shoppers hid in freezers and closets to get away from the active shooter at the Collierville Kroger on New Byhalia Road. It was terrifying moments last Thursday after a shooter opened gunfire.  

Olivia King’s family is brokenhearted after their loved one died from her injuries.   

Now the community of Collierville is uniting in the wake of tragedy.  

“This is going to be a very traumatic time for the victims, and the community and we just have to be there for them, but we have to be there for them where they’re at,” said mental health counselor Brandy Flynn.   

Flynn has worked with patients who have lived through violent incidents.     

“So many people have dealt with trauma that they make it seem like that it’s normal and they don’t realize that they have truly been traumatized,” explained Flynn.   

Victims may experience anger outbursts, anxiety, survivor’s guilt or PTSD. 

“I would definitely say connect with a mental health professional so you can get a tailor-made treatment plan for you and your experiences,” said therapist DeAvila Ford. “That therapist can teach you how to meditate or how to do mindfulness activities.”   

Normalizing talking about the subject of mental health is vital especially when it comes to dangerous situations in public spaces like the Southaven, Mississippi Walmart workplace shooting in 2019. Ford said it’s okay to not be okay or be triggered.   

“It's okay that right now you're not who you were prior to this incident or a trauma happened to you,” commented Ford. “You know, you just have to work intentionally with you know, a therapist and intentionally on aiding you to get through the experience but you know.”  

She also adds it’s important to give yourself some grace to heal emotional wounds.   

A memorial has been placed outside to honor the victims, after a day they will never forget.

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