How Support Can Help After Trauma

Medically Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari, MD on December 16, 2022
2 min read

Traumatic events come in many forms -- from severe injuries, to sexual assault, to natural disasters. They can carry lasting consequences. You’ve survived the trauma, but what do you do if you feel alone and withdrawn? There are ways to find a safe space where you can be open about what you’re going through and get guidance on how you can feel better.

People who’ve gone through a traumatic experience may become isolated. They may feel anger, depression, or guilt. If the trauma involved injury, their physical health and finances may also be affected.

Support groups offer a way to connect with others with similar challenges, get information on resources for recovery, and the reassurance that this difficult process is normal.  That can ease emotional stress.

There are many local and national options. Groups can meet in person or online. You can find them through an Internet search, or your doctor can give you recommendations.

If you or a loved one needs help, don’t wait. Experts can track down the right resources and provide reassurance. For example:

  • The Disaster Distress Helpline is available at 800-985-5990 or by texting TalkWithUs to 66746.
  • Connect with the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255).
  • Veterans can send a text to Veterans Chat at 838255.

Posttraumatic stress disorder, when issues don’t go away after a trauma, can feel so overwhelming that people think about harming themselves or ending their lives. Having another mental health issue like depression, anxiety, or substance abuse can raise the chances of suicide. It’s not unusual after trauma to feel like ending your life is the only solution.

But this isn’t true. If you are having these thoughts, seek help from a doctor or someone you trust right away.

Apart from organized groups and hotlines, another key ingredient to recovery is to take care of yourself.

You can practice mindfulness -- being present in the moment -- when you have flashbacks, feel detached, or remember painful events. Focus on slow and deep breathing, and engage your senses with pleasant smells and textures.

Make sure to avoid drugs and alcohol, as these can affect your emotions and interact with the medicines you take.