A person who has experienced a traumatic event may react strongly right away, showing you that they need immediate assistance, whilst others may have a delayed reaction. This means that if you are helping someone you know and see on a regular basis, you may be continually assessing them for signs of distress over the next few weeks following a traumatic event.
A traumatic event is when a person is exposed to actual or threatened death, serious injury or sexual violation. Examples of traumas may include; involvement in war, accidents, assault (including physical or sexual assault, robbery, or family violence) and witnessing something terrible happen. Mass traumatic events include terrorist attacks, mass shootings, warfare and severe weather events (cyclones, tsunamis and bushfires).
The traumatic event may not necessarily be experienced directly by the person. The person might witness it happening to someone else, learn about a traumatic event that has occurred to someone close to them, or they are exposed to repeated or extreme details of the event.
There are some sorts of traumas that are not single discrete incidents. Common examples of recurring trauma include sexual, physical or emotional abuse, or torture. Sometimes the memories of a traumatic event suddenly or unexpectedly return weeks, months or even years afterwards.
If you or someone you know are experiencing any of these symptoms, speak to a mental health professional. Our professionals are available to help you 24/7.