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Did you know that one in four children experience at least one potentially traumatic event before the age of 16? This one event has the potential to negatively alter a child’s life.

What is trauma?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, there are two types of trauma – physical and mental.

Physical trauma includes the body’s response to serious injury and threat.

Mental trauma includes frightening thoughts and painful feelings. They are the mind’s response to serious injury. Mental trauma can produce strong feelings. It can also produce extreme behavior such as intense fear or helplessness, withdrawal or detachment, lack of concentration, irritability, sleep disturbance, aggression, hyper vigilance (intensely watching for more distressing events), or flashbacks (sense that event is reoccurring). It is important to note that not every stressful event results in trauma. In other words what is traumatic for one child may not be traumatic for another. There are factors that determine the ultimate impact of a traumatic event.

What can I do to help?

Did you know that trauma in a child can be minimized or even eliminated depending on a child’s ability to cope with and manage the feelings related to the event. In other words, there is a great deal that supportive adults can do to help children heal from trauma . The most important thing an adult can do is seek the appropriate intervention as early as possible. Children who are traumatized need support to avoid long term emotional harm. Knowing what to do is important. Getting support and assistance early creates resilience, the ability to handle stressful events and remain mentally strong and healthy.

Content Credit: Kid’s Matter Inc.