Trauma – how to help. Basic info

Refugees – people who have experienced traumatic events. We welcome them into our homes, we meet them in refugee centres, in classes. We want to help, but we don’t always know how to do it.

Here is some advice.

It’s always good to ask the person who has experienced a traumatic or distressing event what you can do to support them.

Make time to be with them and make it clear that you are available for them. People who have had a traumatic experience can feel very reassured by human contact.

Provide them with the space to talk about what happened, even if they become upset. Just be present, remain calm and listen carefully. Providing an accepting, calm and warm environment can help.

Help them to relax and get involved in activities. Relaxation and fun are important recovery tools. Try to involve them in physical activity, such as walking. Exercise burns off stress chemicals, reduces muscle tension and encourages better sleep.

Encourage socialising – even low-key events such as sitting around with other people – can help to reduce stress levels.

Smile is a wonderful antidote to stress. Find ways to help them to smile for a moment.

Take good care of yourself to stay strong and healthy to be able to help others. Eat healthy, give yourself time to rest, sleep. It’s not a waste of time. When we are tired and sleep deprived we loose strength and focus, and we are more likely to make mistakes.

What not to do or say

Some ways in which it can be unhelpful to respond include:

Don’t say that everything will be ok.

Don’t avoid talking about the event.

Don’t think you know how the person should think, feel or behave. Everyone’s response is different. Being accepted helps put things in context.

Don’t use general phrases such as ‘it’s gonna be ok’ or ‘look for the silver lining’, but help them think about what they do have.

Źródło: Better Health