This information will be discussed with you and explained by the professional responsible for your care.
What do we mean by trauma?
A response to a discreet or prolonged circumstance; which at some point is perceived by the person to be an uncontrollable serious threat to physical or psychological integrity and which overwhelms emotional resources or a capacity to function.
Trauma Easy Read Leaflet Download
Something that happened to you that still haunts you today. And if it doesn’t still haunt you, it sure did for a long time.Beth Filson, Lived Experience
We know that it is a major factor in many people’s mental health and wellbeing.
Examples could be:
- events which provoke intense fear can be traumatising sometimes even if the threat is not to your safety but to someone else’s e.g. illness, childbirth, accidents, war, natural disasters, being restrained
- experiences which exclude you from society through shame, alienation or stigma e.g. racism, discrimination, refugee, bullying, stalking, diagnosis
- relationships which deliberately inflict harm on others e.g. sexual violence and abuse (including trafficking), physical assault, domestic violence, torture
- witnessing violence or abuse happening to other people
- preventing the positive well-being and growth of another person e.g. neglect (the persistent failure to meet a dependent’s basic physical and/or psychological needs) and emotional abuse (ongoing intimidation, criticism or manipulation).
How are these things relevant to mental health?
We know that people can experience intrusive images and thoughts, fear, shame, anger, nightmares and avoidance after a traumatic event. If this does not resolve then this can develop into post-traumatic stress disorder.
However there are many reactions to trauma, particularly if the trauma was when young or was ongoing. Hearing voices is particularly triggered by loss or trauma, even in those people not distressed by them. Other reactions can include depression, self-harm, alcohol and drug misuse, psychosis, relationship difficulties, dissociation, forensic issues, eating problems, suicidality etc.
People who are most distressed and disabled over long periods of their lives are usually those with an accumulation of traumas.
We do appreciate that some people have found their difficult life experiences made them stronger. For some people, what services call a ‘symptom’ may have been a way of surviving the trauma.
What has this got to do with my care?
We will aim to take your life experiences, including trauma, into account when planning your care.
We will co-ordinate the appropriate help and services to meet your needs. This may include a crisis team for out of hours support or psychological therapy.
We will aim to support you in your distress around the trauma related issues which are relevant to you currently.
Relationships are often the source of hurt in people’s lives but they can also be the source of healing. We recognise the importance of safe and trusting relationships for people who have experienced trauma and adversity.
What treatment could this involve?
- helping to ensure your safety
- helping you to understand your difficulties
- helping you with your current mental health difficulties
- it may be useful for some people to address their trauma in therapy
- it is important to focus on the future and build on your strengths
- your care will be tailored to meet your needs
- recovery may mean different things to different people
- we endeavour to follow best practice guidelines in relation to trauma.
Sources of further information about trauma
- Victim support
Free and confidential help to victims of crime, witnesses, their family, friends and anyone else affected across England and Wales.
Provide ChildLine as well as the NSPCC helpline service for adults.
- Women’s aid
A network of over 350 domestic and sexual violence services across the UK.
Confidential support and information and support for all members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities, their family and friends.
- Hearing voices network
Information, support, and understanding to people who hear voices and those who support them.
- NHS Choices
Information about diagnosis and treatments.
- National Association for People Abused in Childhood
- European Society for Trauma and Dissociation
Information on chronic and complex trauma issues.
- Combat Stress
Information and support for veterans of the armed forces.
- Recovery College Online
Providing a range of online educational courses and resources to people with experience of mental illness, from service users to their family, friends and staff.
L729, V6, 29/12/2020 (Archive: 28/12/2023)