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Psychotherapist explains mental health impacts of witnessing a capital murder case

He says it's important to have a support system to lean on.

Posted: Jun 30, 2021 6:04 PM

This week, jurors have had to see and hear about the gruesome details in a Madison County capital murder case. 

Christopher Henderson is accused of killing five people, including a pregnant woman and her unborn child. A psychotherapist said hearing and seeing details about the five murders can be a lot to handle.

"I don't know that there is any proper way to prepare your mind for something that traumatic," said Choya Wise, psychotherapist for Aspire Counseling and Consulting Services.

Wise said jurors on the Henderson case could be experiencing feelings of stress, guilt and trauma after seeing and hearing about the horrific details.

"Say that you have someone that is a juror that has been exposed to previous trauma or somehow some of the images that they see kinda trigger something in their mind from something that has happened to them in the past. Then they're going to have a more difficult time dealing with it...When you have been exposed to something this horrific, when so much has been place on your shoulders as far as the decision-making power that you have in this, it can cause you to have a lot of mixed emotions," said Wise.

That's why he says it's important to have a support system to lean on.

Maybe you have been following the case and feeling some stress, anxiety or even PTSD about what happened. It may be a good idea to talk to someone about what you are feeling.

"Holding all of these feelings in and leaving it up to yourself to process this out, is not the most wise thing to do in a situation like this," he said.

Another way to get those bad thoughts out of your head is to distract yourself with something positive. Call a friend, listen to some good music and get active even if it's something like taking a walk.

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