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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.