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Many of us have had our worlds turned upside down in different ways by coronavirus. From health risks, job losses/threats, financial distress, home schooling, business and office closures, movement restrictions, and separation from loved ones, to grief and loss.
All of this has been stressful for most people, but particularly challenging for people already struggling with mental health issues, including trauma.
A widely cited definition of trauma is:
“Individual trauma results from an event, series of events, or set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life threatening and that has lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being” (SAMHSA).
Victims of violent crime often experience trauma, as do survivors of natural disasters. Trauma is also common in our society from many other experiences. It can be treated naturally through a recovery process and assistance from professional help.
Many things in the world around us can re-trigger trauma. The unprecedented global coronavirus pandemic is one example. While it has caused a spectrum of trauma for countless people, thankfully Australia is one of the safest countries in the world due to public health measures. However, these restrictions can also re-traumatise trauma survivors and disrupt healing and recovery.
Re-traumatisation risks include things that trigger:
These feelings are normal in the context of trauma – whether that is related to coronavirus, or to experiences you suffered as the result of a crime. Stress related to trauma can result in difficulty sleeping or concentrating, feeling overwhelmed, out of control, scared, anxious, and depressed.
If you’re experiencing trauma, things that can help during this time include:
Some general ways to look after your wellbeing during the coronavirus include:
Often people who have experienced trauma are helped by a team of supporters, including friends, family, professionals, neighbours, and the wider community.
If you are having difficulty coping, please speak with your GP who can help with your sleep, physical, and mental health. They can create a mental health care plan and may refer you to a psychologist or other allied health professional.
Another reason to see your GP is if you are considering lodging an application for financial assistance with Victims Assist Queensland (VAQ). It is important to have documentation for your application, including a diagnosis (even provisional) from your GP, psychologist or psychiatrist.
VCSS works from a Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) framework. We are continuing to support victims of violent crime, witnesses, and family members throughout the disruption of COVID-19, and now offer our counselling services over telephone and videoconferencing.
We support trauma survivors and empower them in their healing process. We can help you to identify and manage triggers and re-traumatising risks to aid the healing process. Supporters, friends, family and survivors themselves can also use these key concepts to feel better.
You can make an appointment or get information and telephone referrals by calling our 24/7 number: 1300 139 703.