Help right now for trauma

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Practical things you can do in the moment to feel better

Immediately after the event

If you or someone you know has just experienced a traumatic event, there are some immediate steps you can take:

  • In cases of physical or sexual assault and other injuries, you can contact emergency services on 000.
  • To report a crime, you can call or visit your local police station.
  • Reach out to a close friend or relative for support. Sometimes it can be hard to tell someone else about your experience. If it feels safer and more comfortable, you can always contact Lifeline.

It’s normal to feel anger, guilt, shame, anxiety or numbness, but remember everyone responds to traumatic experiences differently, and there is no right or wrong reaction. It may be helpful to learn more about the common effects of trauma here.

Healing can take time and support, but many people start to feel better after about a month. If your symptoms get worse or last longer, you may want to consider seeking additional support.

For specific symptoms

Trauma can show up in different ways for different people. Depending on what symptoms you experience, there are a variety of strategies you can use to help you cope in the moment. There are also ways you can manage trauma in the long-term on the following page.

For now, here are some strategies that can give you relief in the moment.

  • If you’re feeling anxious, frightened, angry, or on-edge
  • If you’re reliving the trauma through intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, or nightmares
  • If you’re having panic attacks
  • If you’re experiencing dissociation or you keep zoning out
  • If you feel the urge to self-harm or are thinking of suicide

Tips for looking after yourself after a traumatic event

Practicing self-care is important for maintaining your mental health after experiencing something traumatic.

Here are some ways that you can look after yourself:

  • Be kind to yourself

    After experiencing something traumatic, it’s common to feel guilt and shame, or question whether you could have done something differently. Although these reactions are normal, they are not helpful. Blaming yourself for what happened is your mind’s way of trying to make sense of something terrible that shouldn’t have happened. Remember, you did what you had to in order to cope and stay safe.

  • Reach out for support
  • Do activities that you enjoy
  • Keep to a routine
  • Focus on what you can control
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet
  • Avoid substances
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