In observance of Mental Illness Awareness Week, we must not forget about the role of trauma and how trauma can impact one’s mental health and wellness.

Trauma is an overwhelming emotional response to a tragic event or extreme circumstance like an automobile accident or a natural disaster. Shock and denial are typical responses immediately following a traumatic event. Fear, anxiety, flashbacks, feelings of helplessness, strained relationships and physical symptoms like headaches, stomach aches or fatigue are common symptoms of trauma. Trauma can affect a person’s ability to cope with everyday life.

Many people will experience some type of traumatic event at least once in their lives. The traumatic experience can result from a single traumatic event, recurrent trauma,  witnessing a traumatic event or being the victim of trauma. It is also important to know that not all people who experience trauma will develop significant impairment in functioning.

Mental Illness Awareness Week is an effort designed to increase awareness, foster open dialogue, and promote mental health, recovery and wellness.

The National Council of Community Behavioral Health has developed a creative trauma infographic explaining some facts about trauma, symptoms, coping strategies and tips on seeking treatment and support.

The message is clear: many people experience trauma in their lives.  But people can and do recover from trauma. If you are experiencing symptoms of trauma, get help and support.  You can recover.


NAMI: Mental Illness Awareness Week 2012: Oct. 7-13, 2012

Hogg Foundation for Mental Health: Fact sheet: overview, treatment, initiatives and resources