Mental Health Tips for Dealing with Traumatic Events

June 1st, 2016

Sadness, fear, helplessness, and anxiety are all natural responses to the shooting in Orlando. Everyone feels and reacts to traumatic events such as hate crimes and terrorist attacks differently. There’s no right or wrong way to feel. But, if you or someone you know feels overwhelmed by the Orlando shooting, below is a list from the National Association of Social Workers, “Coping with Terrorism” of things that may help individuals cope with how their feeling.

Tips for Dealing with Traumatic Events

  • Identify and acknowledge the feelings that you may be experiencing. Understand that these feelings are a normal reaction to this event.
  • Remember that you have overcome adversity and trauma in the past. Try to remember what you did that helped you overcome the fear and helplessness in that situation. If it makes sense, do those things now.
  • Talk to others about your fears. Reach out to people who make you feel safe. If you want to be around people who are feeling similar things to you and you’re in a city that has vigils or other gatherings about the Orlando shooting, attend these events.
  • On the other hand, if you do not feel like talking, that is alright too. Some people find exercise and other active ways of releasing feelings more helpful.
  • Make efforts to maintain a usual routine.
  • Realize that the things you’re feeling now are not permanent. They will change. Also, try to be realistic about the time it takes to feel better. It may take a while and that’s okay.
  • Recognize that the nature of terrorist attacks and hate crimes create fear and uncertainty about the future. Continue to do enjoyable things. Avoid preoccupation with the things you cannot control to the extent that they prevent you from living your normal life. If you are unable to avoid preoccupation, consider seeing a mental health provider.
  • Limit exposure to media coverage. By getting some distance from the event, by turning off the television or not logging onto Facebook as much, you give yourself a chance to catch our breath and refocus our attention.
  • During times of stress, people who have depression and other mental illnesses may see their condition worsen. These people should contact their mental health care provider, if they feel it is necessary.

Ask for Help When Needed

If these tips aren’t helping and your symptoms persist, ask for help from a mental health professional. We can help you find relief and developing effective coping strategies for dealing with trauma.

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