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North Alabama trauma counselor explains impact tragedies can have on people

Limestone County schools have had counselors available to students all week after five people were murdered in the Elkmont community.

Posted: Sep 5, 2019 5:57 PM
Updated: Sep 5, 2019 6:04 PM

Counselors have been at Limestone County schools all week after Mason Sisk, 14, is accused of murdering five of his family members.

Sisk and two of his siblings were students in the school system. WAAY 31 learned students at the schools and people in the community might need more counseling.

Erica Hochberger is a trauma counselor and she explained the loss of the Sisk family will impact the community that knew them.

"I think healing is a lifelong process when you've got something that monumental that's happened. You can go and have a very healthy and fulfilling life, but a part of you is always going to take that with you," she said.

Hochberger explained everyone in the community can help each other in this time, and if you think someone is struggling, you should treat them with kindness.

"Come in with a kind attitude and try to help, not just being curious about oh, what's going on?" she said.

She said any type of tragedy can have a major impact for people of all ages.

"A trauma can really be anything that is really scary or really dangerous that kind of upsets their view of the world and how it works and their feelings of safety and everything is going to be okay," Hochberger said.

She said trauma counseling is giving anyone who's struggling from an event, the tools to handle the trauma successfully in the future.

"Through any kind of trauma, you're more vulnerable in the future then and so it's really important to have those skills of what in your environment might be dangerous and ways to be assertive and where to get help if you need it," Hochberger said.

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