Area Psychologists and Counselors Encourage West Survivors to Se - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

Area Psychologists and Counselors Encourage West Survivors to Seek Help

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West is making progress. New houses are being built and soon you'll see new schools and streets, but long-term mental health effects can't be repaired as quickly. 

Psychologists and social workers say it's crucial those people get help now, especially now that it's six months after the disaster. Area psychologists who are working closely with survivors are starting to see them with disorder's like post traumatic stress, and these mental effects are normal to have.

"I can't emphasize how important it is to at least seek out an opinion," Dr. Katy Sharp said. "If family members are willing to help with that, that always helps."

PTSD isn't the only problem. Psychologists also see anger, depression and anxiety. Even symptoms that don't seem alarming like headaches.

"The actual diagnosis of PTSD, there are criteria that you have to meet, but you can still have anxiety disorder, depressive or trauma response or symptoms of it without meeting a full criteria," said Sharp.

One challenge counselors and social workers face is convincing people to get help, especially when the holidays roll around. Baylor professor and social worker, Dr. James Ellor, has been involved with West since the day after the explosion.

"Reaching out at this time becomes much more crucial," Ellor said. "One has to remember somewhere around 15 families, somebody that they really care about isn't going to be there at Christmas or Thanksgiving."

But Ellor says there are three things that will help the community get on it's feet.

"One thing is, it's a very friendly town. It's a community that will embrace folks like that," Ellor said. "Two, it's a community of faith and three it's a community that connects well and supports each other."

A symposium will be held for anyone who may be experiencing PTSD symptoms. Several veterans who cope with the disorder everyday will be talking about how they get through it. They invite anyone to come, even veterans.

The symposium will be Saturday, November 2nd at St. Mary's Catholic Church in West at 11am. 

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