Traumatic Event


Know the Facts

Traumatic events occur in a number of ways. Traumatic events could affect a whole community following a natural disaster like a flood or a fire, or a community event like a shooting or violent protest. They could also happen to an individual following an injury, sexual assault or other distressing situations. The impact of trauma could leave a child feeling unsafe, worried or feeling disconnected from the people around them.

Traumatic events impact a youth in a variety of ways. Some youth quickly move past the event and resume their normal lives. Other times, the impacts of trauma stay with a young person and can have damaging effects on a youth’s mental health. A severe traumatic even could lead to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder with symptoms of stress that are intense and last longer than a month following a traumatic event.

Anxiety disorders are common in youth, which is why adults need to begin to Recognize the Signs of anxiety in the youth around them.


Recognize the Signs

  • Following a traumatic event, look for:
    • Avoidance behaviors – avoiding people and places associated with the traumatic event
    • Emotional numbness – seeing the world more negatively or becoming detached from friends, family and enjoyable activities
    • Anxiety – being easily started, on edge, irritable or tense


Project AWARE: Youth Mental Health First Aid

Learn more about how to help a young person who experienced a traumatic or mental illness by attending a local Youth Mental Health First Aid course. The course provides adults with the knowledge and skills to recognize mental illness in youth, help a youth experiencing a mental illness and respond to a mental health crisis.