Coping with Traumatic Events
The shootings at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., have brought back memories of other frightening events of recent years, and the feelings of vulnerability and sadness that follow such tragedies.
The National Institute of Mental Health conducts and supports research not only on a wide range of mental health disorders, but also on individual reactions to national crises and traumatic events. The rampage in Washington, D.C., comes on the heels of the bombings in Boston, MA, and before that, the shootings in Newtown, CT, Tucson, AZ, and Aurora, CO. Communities continue to recover from natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy in the northeast and severe storms in other areas of the country. Other traumatic losses, manmade and natural, here and overseas, have tested the resilience of those who experienced them.
There are many different responses to crisis. Most survivors have intense feelings after a traumatic event but quickly recover; others have more difficulty — especially those who have had previous traumatic experiences, who are faced with ongoing stress, or who lack support from friends and family — and will need additional help. This website has information and resources on trauma, coping and resilience.
The following are resources that may offer information and assistance for people coping with traumatic events, either directly, or indirectly, as a result of intensive news media coverage.
In these National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) videos, Drs. Robert Heinssen and Farris Tuma discuss NIMH research in the areas of traumatic stress reactions, specifically mental health issues among U.S. service members. What we learn from the military experience can help us understand stress risk predictions for the entire population.
- Mental Health and Mass Violence: Evidence-Based Early Psychological Intervention for Victims/Survivors of Mass Violence (PDF file, 123 pages)
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Resource Page
- NLM's MedlinePlus
- Resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention