Skip to content

Trauma & Response to a Disaster or Traumatic Event

Tips for College Students: After a Disaster or Other Trauma

Navigate to:

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 or physical symptoms after a traumatic event, but with time and support they are able to feel better.

Common Reactions and Coping Strategies

Common reactions may include:

  • feeling sad, depressed, irritable, numb, like you have too much energy, 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
Call the 24 hour Crisis Line of Hawai╩╗i: 1-808-753-6879
Text "Aloha" to the 24 hour Crisis Text Line: 741-741

24 Hour National Disaster Distress Helplines

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

Ulifeline Online resource for college mental health
ULifeline is an online resource for college mental health

Skip over links blocks

Counseling Services are free and confidential for all UH Hilo students. We welcome questions, comments and feedback about our website at