May is Mental Health Month

May is officially Mental Health Month to raise awareness of trauma and the devastating impact it has on people. Trauma can impact someone physically, emotionally, and overall mental well-being.

It is important to note that trauma is more recognized in our society now more than ever. For years trauma has been unrecognized or not well documented in the mental health system. Over time, the causes of trauma are coming more into our awareness in our society. Researchers are busy learning more about the brain and the impact trauma has on the brain. More trauma-informed treatments are available such as EMDR. This kind of work helps clients from being re-traumatized in a system that is supposed to be helping them. Trauma survivors need healing and not just managing symptoms.

Trauma-informed treatments look at people’s histories and how their histories have shaped the person’s behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. When trauma is healed on a deeper level, a person feels real change and can get back in their life feeling more “normal”.

In terms of communities it is important to look at who experiences trauma — such as abused and neglected children, refugees, veterans, minority groups, and victims of violence, crimes and assaults. As a society, education is critical in understanding what trauma is and where treatment is available. Prevention programs are critical to making change.

Any individual, any age, any economic background can experience trauma. Some common causes of trauma include:

  • Living under threat
  • Childhood trauma — sexual, physical, and/or emotional abuse
  • Childhood neglect
  • Experiencing any kind of violence including being bullied
  • Serving in combat
  • Witnessing something terrible happen to another person or people or animals
  • Natural disasters and accidents
  • Racism, sexism, poverty, humiliation and cultural dislocation

It is hard to believe, but trauma is the leading cause of deaths of children in this country. The cost to treat 50 million injuries in 2000 alone was $406 billion. This cost includes medical care, productivity losses, issues from violence and abuse.

Unresolved trauma can manifest in many ways, including anxiety disorders, panic attacks, intrusive memories (flashbacks), obsessive-compulsive behaviors, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), addictions, self-injury and a variety of physical symptoms. Trauma increases health-risk behaviors such as overeating, smoking, drinking and risky sex. Trauma survivors can become perpetrators themselves.

It is important to remember that trauma can be healed. Especially when someone receives EMDR therapy. Help your community gain more knowledge to recognize trauma and resources that are available in your community. It can take a village to help heal the world.

Visit our Learning Center for more information on trauma and EMDR.