Following violent weekend, experts urge people who've experienced trauma to seek help

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Mental health experts say the pandemic, the Waukesha Christmas Parade tragedy and the shootings during and after the Bucks games on Water and 3rd Street Friday night, are all things likely taking a major toll on the mental health of many Southeast Wisconsinites right now.

They said the trauma people experienced on Water Street Friday night may be just the beginning of concerns for many people who will relive what happened in their minds for years to come.

"It was surreal, I mean you know, your hands are shaking," said Nabeel Sahar who was at Third Street Tavern when one of the shootings happened outside.

"A lot of this was very traumatizing. I think me and my friends were definitely talking about it until like 1:30, 2 o'clock in the morning," said Michael Tulsky, an MSOE student who filmed some of what happened from a dorm far above Water Street.

"[My friends] were just so spooked, they wanted to get home. I had a lot of friends down there so it was very concerning," said Carl Reifsteck, another MSOE student talking about people he knew who were there.

Mental health specialists said everyone will react differently.

"Some people will be able to go on as if nothing happened, but many will experience more intense emotions, anxiety and fear," said UW Health Director of Behavioral Health Services Greg Rogers.

Rogers says issues like PTSD usually don't develop until later.

"That's something that will come, you know, down the line," said Rogers.

Tyler Rickers, a psychiatrist at Roger's Behavioral Health, said that's why it's important to seek help right away.

Especially at a time when Southeast Wisconsin has been hurting so much.

"From the Dancing Grannies incident to this, and it's really important that people are reaching out and supporting each other and doing what we can to help people who have witnessed this or been involved in this," said Rickers.

He said if you can't talk with a doctor or therapist, even talking with friends and family can help.

Rickers said on a broader scale though, the societal issues causing these things need to be addressed.

"In today's age, people are afraid to go the grocery store, people are afraid to go to a parade, people are afraid to go to a game and something has to change," said Rickers.

Here in Milwaukee County there is a 24-hour mental health crisis hotline you can call at 414-257-7222.

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