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Stage collapse could cause emotional side effects

WESTFIELD, Ind (WISH) — Westfield students are trying to move past Thursday night’s stage collapse incident. Although everyone made it out without serious injuries, experts said that doesn’t mean the incident isn’t weighing heavily on their hearts.

Licensed mental health counselor Heather Meyer is concerned that since there were no serious injuries, kids won’t feel justified in feeling upset. However, she encourages kids to speak up if they feel sad or confused.

Meyer has been working with teens for almost 20 years. She says one of the biggest challenges is to get kids to acknowledge their feelings.

“Kids are already prone to experimentation and trying to figure out how to feel their full feelings and whether it’s ok to feel all of their feelings,” said Meyer.

Meyer hasn’t worked with Westfield High students, but says accidents like the stage collapse could be emotionally damaging.

“To have a reaction to anything that isn’t the typical norm or what’s expected, there is a possibility of that creating a reaction of having some impact emotionally,” said Meyer.

Meyer said the students will respond to what happened in their own way and that can vary.

“What makes a traumatic experience is hard to tell. Everyone is affected so differently because we all have our own individual perceptions,” said Meyer.

Officials at Westfield High School said they do have grief counselors on hand to work with students. Meyer encourages kids to turn to support staff if needed. But she is concerned kids will shy away from getting the help they need. Meyer advised parents to get involved.

“Identifying with who they are comfortable talking with or kind of monitoring or watching to see if it is something that the child may need to talk to a mental health professional outside the day to day setting,” said Myer.

Meyer also added that parents should look for:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Jumpiness or anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Withdraw

If you notice any of these signs in your child, you might consider contacting a professional.