August 16th, 2013
10:59 AM ET

Hannah Anderson's Public Appearance – Is it Healthy?

Teenage kidnapping survivor Hannah Anderson was spotted making her first public appearance since her dramatic rescue last Saturday.

The 16-year-old surprised those attending a fundraiser for her family at the Boll Weevil Restaurant in Lakeside, California.

"This night was an unexpected reunion honestly,” her cousin Brandon Fambrough says. “All her friends were here… It was like we haven't skipped a beat."

“Wearing ‘Hannah Strong’ and ‘Pray for Hannah’ T-shirts, neighbors, friends and the teenager's grandparents helped raise money for Anderson's mother and brother's funeral,” CNN’s Casey Wian reports. (WATCH TOP VIDEO)

Raffle ticket sales, cash donations and 20 percent of the restaurant's sales were all donated to the Anderson family, in hopes to help Hannah adjust after her ordeal.

"I wanted to say thank you all for coming,” Hannah’s father Brett Anderson told the crowd. “This is a small community that we're a part of, and the community came together putting on this great fundraiser for Hannah, and hopefully her future and healing."

Hannah’s public appearance comes not long after she fielded questions from strangers about the abduction on social media and posted photos on Instagram, leading to questions about whether her apparent return to normal life is helping or hurting her healing process.

“I actually think it’s healthy and a sign of ego strength,” Psychotherapist Robi Ludwig says.” (WATCH VIDEO)

“I think it’s really smart of her talk, to try to put what happened to her in perspective. And the way 16-year-olds do that is they turn to social media.”

Ludwig believes Hannah is getting the support system she needs by engaging in social media. She says it could also be the case that her trauma may be delayed.

“This is a girl who’s probably in denial and shock,” Ludwig says. “What has happened to her probably doesn't even feel real yet, and that really, her grieving might take place down the road.”

Ludwig also urges that viewers and the media not judge Hannah and other trauma victims as those who should be isolated.

“They're not crying in a corner necessarily, and it doesn't mean they're not struggling.”

Hannah’s friends Kylah Hayes and Alyssa Haugum, who were at the fundraiser with Hannah last night, appeared exclusively on “New Day” and related similar sentiments. (WATCH VIDEO)

“I don't really know how she is,” Hayes says. “But from what she looks like, she's doing great, like normal Hannah.”

Haugum thinks her friend is “acting strong” for her everyone else.

“And I think that's more of just for her appearance,” Haugum says. “But I could tell that there's something inside of her that's upset.”

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  1. Cindy

    This whole story is so strange and so is this entire family. This girl is lying and we need and want the truth here. Why would she go on all those trips with this man if nothing was going on between them? We weren't born yesterday. The both got what they both wanted and that was SEX. She is so Trashy and looks like a teenager that only cares now about attention, fame and money. 2 days after her capture she was online running her mouth and surely not a way to grieve. But her father said: WE WANT PRIVACY. My God girl we are so sick of you now, Go away please. You cell is waiting for you. You showed yourself and more to this man and got what you had coming to you. Who will be the next man? A 60 year old. Hummmmmmm.

    August 24, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Reply

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