A traumatic event produces a stress response like that of a major loss. Common emotional reactions include:

  • Shock or numbness

  • Fear and anxiety attacks

  • A sense of helplessness

  • Anger or rage

  • Depression and grief

  • Feeling unsafe or vulnerable 


These emotional responses can cause physical symptoms, such as:

  • Dizziness

  • Weakness or fatigue

  • Muscle tension

  • Headaches

  • Changes in appetite & sleep

  • Nausea or stomach upset


Coping With A Traumatic Event

The following are ways to help assist you and your family in coping a traumatic event:

  • Share your thoughts and feelings with others. It helps to talk about it.

  • Take care of yourself by getting enough rest, eating well, and exercising.

  • Limit exposure to media of the traumatic event. Balance the amount of repeated information that is watched or listened to of the traumatic event.

  • Let others know what you need from them. In time of trauma let others know what may or may not be helpful.

  • Expect that this trauma may remind you of other past traumas or losses. 

  • Refrain from alcohol, or non- prescribed drugs, or other unhealthy ways of coping

  • Give yourself time to heal. Responses to trauma are very diverse and we all take different times to recover. 

  • Seek professional help at once if you have trouble with depression, expressing your feelings, and experience homicidal or suicidal ideation.


Talking To Our Children About A Traumatic Event

Providing answers to our children when tragedy strikes involves a balance between helping the child feel safe and acknowledging the existence of violence, evil and danger in our world.


The following steps can be helpful when talking to children:

  • Make Sure Your Emotions are Under Control: Prepare yourself to focus on the child not your own emotions over the situation.

  • Consider Limiting Their Access to Media: Monitor TV footage of victims of the tragedy or repetition of the traumatic event.

  • Encourage Your Child to Express Feelings: Listen and don’t jump to “make it better.”

  • Be Ready to Provide Some Possible “Why’s”: We don’t know “why”, but we can educate our children about political and religious fanaticism and the inappropriate use of violence to “send a message.”

  • Be Honest: There are “evil” people in the world who do “very bad” things, but also tell your child that most people are not evil and would not do such a thing.

  • Reassure Your Child: On the whole he or she lives in a safe place.

  • Don’t Provide False Assurance: Instead of saying “Nothing like this will ever happen to you,” let your child know “I am here to protect you and keep you safe.”

  • Be a Role Model: Be aware that your own reactions will have a big impact on your child and how they react.

  • Monitor Your Childs Behavior: If there is a prolonged pattern of unusual or abnormal behavior, seek profession advice.


REACH your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is here to help you and your child deal with a traumatic event. 

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