Supporting Kids and Loved Ones in the Wake of Recent Tragedy
Healthy coping is important following a traumatic event
October 13, 2023
Immediately following a violent event, the number one priority is to save lives and treat the physical wounds of the victims.
But in the days and weeks following the event, as those physical wounds begin to heal, we must be cognizant of the psychological wounds that, while invisible, can be equally as damaging.
In the period following a tragedy, many people affected by a tragic event will experience great challenges. From survivors to bystanders to emergency room physicians, there are many who don’t yet know the emotional toll these events will take on them.
Drawing from the advice of experts in trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression, McLean Hospital has developed these tips to support coping with trauma. We hope that in these difficult times, this information can serve as a guide for those who may wonder if what they are feeling is normal.
Keep Reading To Learn
- How to practice self-care following a traumatic event
- Advice on how to help children cope
- Signs that a person should seek professional help
Coping With Trauma
Traumatic events affect everyone differently. People may feel anxious, sad, or even numb.
For survivors, first responders, and those who have witnessed violent or disturbing events—whether in person or in the media—acute psychological stress is extremely common.
However you’re feeling, know that you are reacting normally to what is undoubtedly an abnormal situation.
After traumatic events, some people may experience loss of appetite, insomnia, and recurring thoughts about what happened or upsetting things that they saw. These emotions and symptoms may show up right away or after some time has passed, so it is important to give yourself time to process these emotions and begin healing.
While some amount of disruption is to be expected after a traumatic event, taking good care of yourself and your family can be crucial to ensuring that things don’t spiral into something more serious.
It is important to:
- Get enough sleep
- Stay busy and keep to your regular routine, if possible
- Eat regularly and healthily
- Stay hydrated—acute stress causes dehydration
- Get exercise and fresh air
- Reach out to your support network of family, friends, clergy, and physicians
- Limit television coverage of the tragedy, access to gruesome photos, or anything connected to violence