Coping with traumatic events

When terrible things happen, like the recent incidents in London and Manchester, it can have a huge lasting impact on how we feel, even if we are not involved directly. 

Some common reactions are to feel angry, fearful, anxious or stressed. Others might feel extremely sad or hopeless.

If you have existing mental health problems, events like these could trigger them or make them harder to deal with.

But there is no one way to react to trauma, and however you are feeling the important thing to remember is this is ok. These are normal reactions to terrible circumstances.

That doesn’t mean they are not hard to cope with though.

Here are some resources you might find helpful if you are struggling over the next few days or weeks.

Want to talk to someone?

Feeling stressed, anxious or angry?

You could try someone of our tips on coping with stress or watch this video on relaxation. If you’re feeling angry, and are struggling to cope with it, this info might be helpful. If you’re feeling uneasy, worried or fearful, take a look at our info on coping with anxiety and panic attacks.

Feeling low or hopeless?

In many people stressful or tragic events can cause their mood to drop suddenly. Our info on depression self-care might help you if this is how you are feeling right now.

Feeling unsafe?

Traumatic events can trigger thoughts about harming yourself, hurting others or ending your life.

  • In this situation the quickest way to get help is to call 999 or go to A&E.
    But if that does not feel possible, we have some info on the other types of crisis services available here.
  • You could also try this online tool, designed by visitors to our site, to help you deal with these thoughts and feelings.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

We have been asked a lot this morning about PTSD and whether those present at last night’s events are at risk.

While it is impossible to speculate on the lasting impact to specific individuals, especially since everyone will react so differently, the Royal College of Psychiatrists have some information on the immediate impact of a traumatic event, which can tell you more about what to expect, and how to look after yourself.

If you already have a diagnosis of PTSD, it is understandable that memories and feelings from your own experiences might be on your mind more over the next few days or weeks. It may be helpful to take a look at our information on self-care.

Young people and children

We know that many of the people affected are young people or children who are particularly vulnerable.

Info for parents

Info for young people

  • Childline’s website have a huge amount of resources for young people who are struggling. You can talk to someone online, play games or watch videos which will all help you to cope today. You can also call them to talk to someone directly on 0800 1111.
  • BBC Newsround have put together some advice on what to do if you're upset too.

Emergency service staff

We know that many people from fire, ambulance and police services will have been working during both incidents. It is really important that you look after your own emotional wellbeing too.

Our Blue Light information resources might be helpful. We have a dedicated Infoline on 0300 303 5999 (open Mon-Fri 9am-6pm) if you’d like some information or support too. 

This service is open to colleagues and family members too, and doesn’t need to be about a recent incident.

Mental Health A-Z

Information and advice on a huge range of mental health topics

> Read our A-Z

Training

Helping you to better understand and support people with mental health problems

> Find out more

Special offers

Check out our promotional offers on print and digital booklets, for a limited time only

> Visit our shop today