How to cope with a traumatic event?


This country has once more experienced a second hand trauma in relation to the safety of our children. As the school year comes to an end, many parents, guardians and children are left with an overwhelming sense of uncertainty, a sense of sadness, a sense of fear. Many individuals have attempted to wrap their minds around the events and have attempted to numb or simply suppress those emotions.

Here at Open Arms Foster Care, we want to give you a few steps that can allow you and your friends and family to process those emotions in a healthy way. We want to let you know that your mental health matters and you are far from alone in this journey. We want to let you know that your emotions are validated and we want to help you come out of this successful and confident in your ability to take care of your mind. This is not a linear process. Not everyone is able to follow the steps in the same order, just like not everyone may need to take on every step.

So what can we do? How can we give our minds a healthy way to process the effects of a trauma? You can start by acknowledging the responses and reactions that are bound to take place: ANGER, FEAR, SADNESS, DESPAIR, HOPELESSNESS. These are the most commonly and quickest emotions to onset as a result to a traumatic event both personal and second-hand. These are all normal emotions and it is important to not suppress them. Start by naming your emotions and allow those around you to do the same. Speak to someone you trust whether that is a friend, a family member or a professional. Openly expressing those emotions allows you to gain clarity and control of them. It allows you to find forms to physically work through the feelings instead of allowing them to take control of you which in many cases can lead to negatively affect your physical and mental wellbeing.

The most important thing is that you allow the emotional stress to exit your mind and body through healthy actions. Engage in physical activity: dance, go for a bike ride, take a stroll. Minimize stress by doing things you love and bring you positive emotions: singing, writing in a journal, painting, gardening. Remember you are not alone. Open Arms Mental Health is here to support you and your children.


This week we are featuring Depression.
Depression is a mental health disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Depression affects how you feel, think, and behave and can lead to multiple emotional and physical problems.
Symptoms of depression may include feelings of sadness, hopelessness, angry outbursts, irritability, loss of interest in hobbies and normal activities, insomnia or sleeping too much, lack of energy, reduced appetite and weight loss, anxiety, trouble concentrating, and suicidal thoughts.
Facts and Statistics of Depression:
– Depression affects over 18 million adults every year
– Women are 70% more likely to experience depression than men
– Family history and genes play a role in depressive disorder
– Depression can increase the risk of developing other health issues
Depression can be caused by multiple different things, such as brain chemistry, genetics, physical health problems, stress or negative life events, and medication side effects.
There are many triggers for depression, however, the triggers in the picture are the most common reasons why someone’s depression might come to the surface.
You can’t avoid every trigger, but you can learn to cope or deal with your depression.
It is important to identify your triggers to better understand your mental illness.
Recovering from depression is not easy but it is possible. Often the things that help the most when coping with depression, are the things that are the most difficult to do.
Taking the first step is always the hardest but doing little things like exercising, getting a good night’s sleep, and talking to your friends and family is a good start.
Support plays a big role when coping with depression. Developing a strong support network is key in your recovery because it is difficult to handle everything on your own. If you do not have friends and family to support you, try finding support groups in your community or online.
Improving your sleep, nutrition, and exercise is always good for you, but it is especially helpful when coping with depression. This will in turn reduce your stress levels because you are doing something that is good for your body.
Avoiding procrastination and keeping up with household chores will improve your mental health because the area around you will be inviting and positive. Keeping up with your to-do list will maintain a routine that reduces stress levels.
As always, therapy is recommended when someone is struggling with depression. It is so important to talk to a professional.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, please reach out to our agency and we will be happy to help you. You are not alone.
Agency phone number: 405-894-0320
National suicide hotline: 1-800-273-8255


This week, we are featuring anxiety disorders.

Anxiety is a normal feeling that we all have, however when you have a constant and overwhelming fear and worry, you may have anxiety disorder. There are many different types of anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, phobias, and separation anxiety.

Anxiety can have many symptoms that would affect the body in different ways, such as physically, psychologically, and behaviorally. Anxiety disorders can be caused by multiple different factors such as genetics, brain chemistry, environmental stress, drug withdrawal/misuse, or a medical condition. It is important to get diagnosed and get therapy to know why you are experiencing anxiety.

Facts and statistics about Anxiety disorders:

  • – Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness and affects 30% of adults at some point in their lives
  • – Generalized Anxiety Disorder affects 6.8 million adults in the United States
  • – Only 1/3 of people with an anxiety disorder seek out treatment
  • – 8% of children and teenagers experience an anxiety disorder
  • – 50% of Americans diagnosed with anxiety disorders are also diagnosed with depression

Anxiety disorders can be caused by genetics or environmental reasons. Events, emotions, or experiences can cause symptoms of anxiety to worsen. These are called triggers. There are many things that can trigger someone’s anxiety. These can be internally, such as negative self-talk or unrealistic expectations. They can also be externally, such as major life changes, work or school, relationships, financial issues, etc.

Anxiety triggers are different for everyone but these are common triggers that someone with anxiety can be affected by. Some people may have multiple triggers. It is important to find what triggers your anxiety in order to manage the mental disorder.

If you have an anxiety disorder, it is important to find the best treatment strategy to help you cope with having a mental disorder. These coping mechanisms might include one or multiple different things and everyone with anxiety disorder will have a different coping strategy. Finding what is best for you is the most important.These are some long-term strategies that can help you cope with your anxiety disorder:

  • Identifying and learning to manage your triggers
  • Therapy
  • Daily or Routine Medication
  • Eating Healthy, Balanced Meals
  • Exercise Regularly


If you are experiencing any of the below symptoms or if you think that you may have an anxiety disorder, please call one of these numbers below to get the help that you need. You are not alone.

Agency phone number: 405-894-0320
If an emergency, call 911
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255


This week, we are featuring Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

PTSD is a disorder in which a person has difficulty recovering after experiencing or witnessing a traumatizing event.

Symptoms of PTSD include agitation, irritability, isolation, fear, anxiety, loss of interest in activities, insomnia, fear, flashbacks, and emotional detachment.

Facts and statistics about PTSD:
– 70% of adults experience 1 traumatic event in their lifetime
– 20% of people who experienced a traumatic event will be diagnosed with PTSD
– About 8 million people have PTSD each year
– 1 in 13 people will develop PTSD at some point in their life

There are a lot of things that can trigger someone’s PTSD such as a person, place, thing, or situation. The ones listed are only a few.

When faced with danger, your body gets ready to fight, flee, or freeze. Your brain stops some of its normal functions to deal with the threat, including your short-term memory. The brain attached details to the traumatic memory, which in turn becomes a trigger.

You can’t avoid all triggers, but you can learn to cope.

Some triggers are obvious but others may take time to identify and understand. These triggers can be external and internal.

Coping with PTSD can be difficult but with these tips, it can be manageable.

If you know someone with PTSD, you can do a few things to make their lives easier.
– Provide social support by being patient, educate yourself on their disorder, and don’t pressure them into talking about it.
– Be a good listener. Allow them to come to you and talk about what they are going through. Be interested in the conversation.
– Rebuild trust and safety by expressing your commitment to the relationship and keeping your promises.
– Anticipate and manage triggers by helping them get through their triggered reaction.
– Support treatment by emphasizing the benefits and encourage therapy.

If you or someone you know is struggling with PTSD, please reach out to us and we can help.

If an emergency, call 911

National suicide prevention hotline: 1-800-283-8255

Tips and Information about Mental Health

Open Arms want to ensure that everyone has information about mental health. This slide show gives information about mental health, myths surrounding mental health, warning signs that your mental health is struggling, and prevention and recovery for mental health. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you need professional health. We will welcome anyone with open arms.

Becoming a Foster Parent

Becoming a foster parent may sound difficult and challenging. Fostering a child takes work and time, but the reward of caring for a child in need, outweighs the work it takes to make that happen.

In the beginning, parents must complete 40 hours of training.  This training gives you the tools to decide if foster parenting is right for you and your family. There is additional training that will be provided by Open Arms to help you maintain your status as a therapeutic foster parent such as first aid, CPR, Medication Administration/Monitoring, and extra training on specific behaviors. Therapeutic foster care parents learn improved coping skills and how to manage some of the most challenging scenarios as part of training.

A good therapeutic foster parent is anyone who is ready to be a mentor and leader to a child. We look for parents who are open, compassionate, patient, and willing to open their homes and their hearts. In therapeutic foster care, the home is considered the primary treatment setting for the child or teen. Foster parents are provided a high level of training and preparation to accommodate the child or teen’s needs.

Out foster parents receive many support services from our staff such as:

  • Specialized parent skills training
  • 24/7 phone support from our program staff
  • The foster child will be seen by an Open Arms TFC Licensed Therapist

Now that you understand the process better, you may be asking yourself “How do I get started?”

First, give yourself a pat on the back for being an amazing person with an open and compassionate heart. You will be transforming the life of a child and we appreciate you more than you can possibly imagine.

Next, call or email Alicia Ryan, our Parent Relations and Area Director in Oklahoma City, at 405-765-9928 or

OR call or email Stephanie Woodard, our Parent Relations and Area Director in Tulsa, at 918-625-9484 or

Alicia and Stephanie will answer any questions you may have and schedule a convenient time to meet. At that meeting, they will walk you step by step through the training and certification process and get you started on the exciting path to becoming an Oklahoma State-certified Therapeutic Foster Parent!