Each year, we observe Mental Health Awareness Month (MHAM) in May. In 2021, after a year of isolation and challenges for millions of Americans, the theme of MAHM is “You Are Not Alone.” We know that for many people, it is all too common to feel alone — particularly those who have experienced trauma. May is the perfect month to reach out for help — and to know that if you are struggling, help is available.
Trauma can take many forms. We often equate trauma with major events, like domestic or sexual violence or even a car accident. Yet there are a number of less obvious ways that your life can be affected by trauma, like constant arguing at home with your partner or losing your job. At its core, trauma is about being overwhelmed by circumstances or an event to the point that extreme stress overwhelms your ability to cope. People who experience trauma often respond with intense fear, horror and/or helplessness.
Common types of trauma include:
Psychological or emotional abuse
Sudden death in the family
Witnessing domestic violence
Substance abuse by a household member
A stressful divorce
Experiencing or witnessing community violence
Incarceration of a household member
According to the National Council on Behavioral Health, 70% of adults in the United States — or 223.4 million people — have experienced some type of traumatic event at least once in their lives. Having a trauma history is a risk factor for a number of mental and physical health conditions, including depression, anxiety, substance abuse disorder, diabetes, heart attack, stroke, obesity and high blood pressure.
While there is a link between trauma and a number of issue, there is hope for anyone who has experienced trauma. Seeking help can reduce the likelihood of developing these problems — and can help you move forward with your life after a traumatic event.
Mental Health America offers a number of tips for adapting after trauma and stress, including:
Process your thoughts.
Connect with people.
Don’t compare your experience to others’.
Take care of your body.
Know that it will take time.
Give yourself grace.
Don’t be ashamed to ask for help.
At Blackburn Center, we want you to know that you are not alone. We offer a range of services for victims and survivors of abuse and violence, including counseling and therapy. We understand the impact of trauma. And all of our services are available free of charge.
If you need help, don’t be afraid to reach out — during Mental Health Awareness Month or at any time. Our hotline is available 24 hours a day at 1-888-832-2272.