Counseling Services

Trauma & Response to a Disaster or Traumatic Event

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Students often experience stress. When an event is very stressful, and involves serious injury or is potentially life threatening and creates feelings of helplessness and horror, this may be a traumatic event. There is no right way to feel after an accident or disaster or potential disaster. Many people experience difficult emotions, changes in behavior, relationships issues, or physical symptoms after a traumatic event. With time and support, many people are able to feel better.

Common Reactions and Coping Strategies

Common reactions may include:

  • feeling sad, depressed, irritable, numb, overly energetic, or all of these at different times
  • stress related physical symptoms such as headaches or stomachaches
  • having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
  • changes to thoughts or behavior patterns such as negative thoughts about ourselves or others, memory problems, or avoiding things
  • sensitivity to environmental factors such as loud noises
  • strained interpersonal relationships

Some coping strategies include:

  • try to keep your eating and sleeping schedules as regular as possible
  • talk about it; communicate your experience as you are comfortable
  • take care of yourself: listen to music, exercise, drink water, and rest
  • give yourself time to adjust
  • ask for support from people who care about you
  • breathe, walk, do yoga or find other ways to calm yourself
  • help others in ways that support your own healing; write thank-yous, volunteer, give financially, offer expertise, etc.

Get more information: Online/Print Resources

Get Help

If you or a friend are experiencing distress, get help now:

Make an appointment with Counseling Services
Crisis Line of Hawaiʻi: 1-808-753-6879
Crisis Text Line: Text "ALOHA" to 741-741

24 Hour National Disaster Distress Helplines

Call: 1-800-985-5990
Text "TalkWithUs" just like that to: 66746
Disaster Distress Helpline Website