How to Support Those Dealing with Tragic Events

Together We Are Strong

This past week has been challenging for everyone in our community. The effect of these tragic events will continue to linger and affect people in different ways. It is important to understand that most people will recover from traumatic events on their own in a healthy way.  Trouble sleeping, nightmares and lack of appetite are common after a traumatic event. Your mind is trying to process information and it will take time.  For most of us, the outcome will be recovery and resilience. Just as our bodies take time to heal after an injury or surgery, our minds will heal as we recover from this event and other tragedies.

This means that over the next few weeks to perhaps even over a month or two months, most people will see their reactions to the event lessening as time progresses. You will find that your appetite is coming back, you are sleeping better and you are not so focused on the tragedy. This is the process of recovery.

If you know someone going through a traumatic situation, there are things you can do to help:

Help Without Being Asked — Instead of saying, “Let me know how I can help,” just do it. Does their lawn need cutting? Do it for them. Are they not leaving the house? Bring them food. Don’t expect the person needing help to reach out, take the initiative to help unless they tell you otherwise.

Don’t Push Someone to Talk — Don’t push anyone who is not ready to talk about their feelings or experiences and don’t force them to go to therapy if they aren’t ready. Don’t expect them to engage in small talk as this can be exhausting for them. Make your presence known and let them know you are willing to listen when they want to talk.

Provide Support When Others Have Moved On — Family and friends rush in to help immediately after a traumatic event. But as time passes, people get back to their normal routine even through a person may still be recovering. Check in with them often. Show them they are not alone.

Know Available Resources — While you shouldn’t push someone to get help, you should know what resources are available if they express an interest in such services. UCF RESTORES, a program based out of the university’s Psychology Department, is offering free counseling services for anyone affected by the Pulse shooting, whether that is today, or months down the road. Call 407-823-3910 to get connected with UCF RESTORES or to talk with one of their staff members about other available resources.

Source: UCF College of Medicine

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