Dealing with a traumatic experience: where to find help

A trauma is something that happens to you that upsets or scares you a lot, and makes you feel in danger – like a robbery, a vehicle crash, violence or abuse. Trauma can happen to anyone, and it’s really tough to go through, but there are some steps you can take to make sure you are dealing with it the best you can:

1. Make sure you are safe and in no more danger before you do anything else.

2. Has a crime been committed, or does someone need to go to hospital? Speak to the police to report any crimes, or emergency services like paramedics or the fire department if someone needs to be helped or rescued. Call 10111 and you will be put in touch with the right services.

3. Take a day. For the first 24 hours after a trauma has happened, the most important thing is that you feel safe. Your body and your mind may be in shock, so find a place where you feel safe, and people you feel safe with. You can talk about the trauma if you feel like it, but you don’t have to.

4. Expect that you may feel a bit different. For the first 4 weeks or so after a trauma, many people have some emotional or physical (body) reactions. Read our article here to find out more about what to expect.

5. Want to talk about it? Here are some options:

* Talk to friends or trusted adults about what you went through. Talking about the event, as well as what you saw, heard and felt, can help us to make sense of what happened.

* The South African Police Service has Victim Empowerment Services at many of their stations. Ask the police at your local station about counselling services they have available. If you live in Johannesburg, you can check here to see which stations have counselling centres.

* Call a counselling line like Lifeline (0861 322 322) or the Pharmadynamics Police and Trauma line (0800 20 50 26).

* Go to your nearest clinic or hospital and speak to a counsellor, social worker or psychologist. If you’re not sure whether you need to get help, this useful article can help you out. Remember, you


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