How to deal with emotional trauma from Astroworld Festival tragedy

Briana Conner Image
Wednesday, November 10, 2021
How to deal with emotional trauma from Astroworld tragedy
Many of the young adults who attended the Astroworld music festival are now trying to process what they went through. Here's what some experts are suggesting to look out for.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Many of the young adults who attended the Astroworld music festival are now trying to process what they went through. The deadly chaos has led to anxiety, survivor's guilt, and even PTSD.

A licensed counselor said all of those feelings are completely normal when people experience a mass casualty event. If those emotions aren't processed in a healthy way, they could lead to lifelong trauma.

"I helped a girl who was passed out, and I'm still not sure if that was one of the victims who had passed away. So that's taking an emotional toll on me," concertgoer Arsalina Rehman said.

Ben Castro was also in the crowd. He said, "I knew that there were bodies being carried out, and I saw them. Every year, bodies are carried out. It's a thing where they go unconscious. I just didn't know they were dead."

First-hand accounts from people at Astroworld detail the chaos that created trauma for young adults. Several of them confronted their feelings and searched for answers at the memorial set up for the victims.

"I felt responsible, and I wanted to make the journey back and pay my respects," Castro said.

Heather Timmis is a counselor who specializes in trauma and PTSD. She said those thoughts are common and probably reflected in thousands of fans who survived Friday night.

"You want to think about what could have been done differently, and what could I have controlled to make sure this outcome didn't happen," said Timmis.

Other fans who are still struggling said they were disturbed, because they had no idea they were having a good time at a concert where people while dying.

"I feel so guilty for even enjoying myself. I feel so guilty to think back on all the fun I had, because those kids aren't going to go home," concertgoer Tabitha Tran said.

Timmis said anyone who was at the show should pay attention to symptoms of emotional trauma like nightmares, changes in appetite, depression, looping thoughts, trouble sleeping, or difficulty concentrating. If those issues persist for more than a couple of weeks, it's time for young adults to get help so that the triggers don't shape their lives in the long run.

"The likelihood they will move past this, and live that normal life and go to those events again are very strong," said Timmis.

"I know I'm not the only one scarred from the emotional events that took place from Astroworld," said Rehman.

The shared grief is matched by the resiliency that comes with youth, and access to emotional support.

BetterHelp, in conjunction with Travis Scott, is offering therapy for people who sign up.