Trauma (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)



Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can happen after a serious traumatic incident or many traumatic events. Any event or incident can be considered traumatic if it is very upsetting, scary, shocking or causes physical or emotional harm directly (to them) or indirectly (to someone else). As people cope and manage with situations differently, people will experience traumatic situations differently and will cope differently. Not everyone who experiences a traumatic event will experience psychological trauma (or PTSD). People who are traumatised and experiencing PTSD may experience symptoms such as:

• flashbacks (this is when a person may feel or act as though a traumatic event is happening again)
• nightmares
• anxiety and feeling ‘on edge’
• up and down emotions (such as feeling tearful, irritable or numb)

It is very important to know that it is normal to experience the above symptoms for the first month after a traumatic experience. 

Complex PTSD is a more serious reaction to a long-lasting traumatic experience, for example abuse, neglect or frequent violence.



  1. It is important to remember that everyone copes with things differently. If you are struggling to cope after a traumatic event, it is important to let someone know and get help, support and advice. Talk to someone you trust such as a parent, carer, teacher or your GP.
  2. There are many strategies and techniques to help you cope with flashbacks and anxiety. Visit the Every Mind Matters website and look at the self-care videos.
  3. Some people find it helpful to keep a log of when they experience trauma symptoms (such as flashbacks) to notice if there are patterns or triggers (things or situations that are more likely to make a flashback happen). If you notice patterns or triggers, this might help you to make a plan of how to manage these situations if they come up.
  4. Having hobbies and interests and spending time with friends can be really helpful when you are experiencing symptoms of trauma as they can be a good distraction. Try to plan regular time to do activities and see friends.