Joplin, MO- The May 22nd tornado wiped out a third of Joplin - but thousands of homes and businesses were left untouched. Now those not affected by the devastation may be dealing with survivors guilt.
Ozark Center Psychiatrist Mark Stewart said, "Guilt would just mean that you're experiencing bad feelings because in some ways maybe you had some relief because you didn't suffer the ill fortune that others did."
And those with survivors guilt can also feel somehow responsible for victims pain and suffering because they didn't take action to make the situation better. Stewart said, "Some people are not able to grasp the fact that there was nothing they could do about what's taken place."
And there's a wide range to the guilt response. Some will experience mild symptoms while others are more serious and could lead to major depression or post traumatic stress disorder. "Some consideration to interactions with people who are versed in confront these kinds of issues like clergy, a psychologist or psychiatrist," added Stewart.
But in most cases, survivors guilt will resolve itself over time. Said Stewart, "I think it's going to take time - the guilt that people are expressing right now is completely appropriate from what I'm seeing. So I expect some of that to resolve and people to move on with their lives."