Trauma & mental health
Traumatic events are common.
Up to 65 per cent of Australians are likely to experience or witness an event which threatens their life or safety, or that of others around them. This can be a car or other serious accident, physical or sexual assault, war or torture, or natural disasters such as bushfires or floods.
“I saw that the truck was going to hit me and thought, ‘this is it, I’m going to die’….and there was nothing I could do about it…”
Traumatic events are often sudden and unexpected, and very different from anything we have gone through before. We may have no time to prepare for it or adjust to it, it may be hard for us to make sense of the event. As a result, it may cause us to question strongly held beliefs ─ about our safety, how much control we have over our life and how predictable the world really is. When people describe their world as being shattered following a traumatic event, they are often referring to the shattering of these and other beliefs. And because traumatic events often occur so suddenly, we have to do all the adjusting after it happens.
“…I was just walking down the street..and the next thing, I find myself in hospital. I can’t remember what happened…I keep trying but I can’t. You don’t think just walking down the street is very dangerous do you? I just can’t believe it…how could this happen to me?”
Psychological first aid is the preferred initial response ─ find out more.
Most people will recover on their own, with the support of family and friends ─ find out more.
People who do not recover on their own could develop mental health problems and may need professional help to recover ─ find out more.
Emotional recovery from a traumatic event is as important as physical recovery – find out more.
How the community, organisations and health services respond to trauma can have a lasting impact on a person’s ability to recover – find out more.
Treatment works but should be much more widely available ─ find out more.