Most people will experience some form of traumatic event during their lifetime. This could be a personal event such as abuse, the death of a loved one, job loss, living through or seeing "domestic violence", being homeless, or divorce. It could also include being part or witnessing larger-scale events such as fire, neighborhood violence, natural disasters, or a terrorist attack.
For almost all of us, traumatic events tend to cause some degree of distress, fear, and anxiety. But with the support of family, friends, and community groups most people manage to effectively cope with trauma.
However, some people may develop mental health conditions as a result of their experience. The most common such conditions are post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety disorders, and substance misuse disorders. People who have experienced multiple traumatic events and those with existing mental health conditions are at higher risk. Symptoms of trauma usually start soon after the traumatic event, but they may not appear until months or years later
It is important to understand that these conditions are treatable. People can recover with help from a combination of talk therapy, lifestyle changes, learning new coping skills, and medication. Participation in community groups can also be helpful. By seeking support from family or social networks, local community or faith-based organizations, people can feel less isolated, tackle stigma, and better able to address their condition.
How can someone tell if they need help?
If four weeks or more have passed since the traumatic events and someone is experiencing any of the following conditions, they may need help:
What can you tell someone to do when they find coping is difficult?
If they need help coping, suggest they reach out to a trusted or comfortable source of help which could mean someone's doctor, a certified peer specialist, a counselor, or psychologist.
One can also find help by calling, texting, or visiting us online. Free, confidential help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If someone is in immediate danger of harming themself or someone else, call 911.