Women's Health Matters

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What to do if you have experienced trauma

If you have recently experienced a trauma, it is important for you to get immediate support. You can go to the nearest emergency room to be examined for injuries. Most emergency rooms will ask you what happened. It is up to you whether or not the police will be involved. You have the right to seek legal support or to deny it, and to still receive good medical attention and support.

If your trauma is not recent, but you are experiencing a flashback or are triggered, you may also want to go to the emergency room.

Recovering from trauma takes time, and every woman heals at her own pace. Here are some things you may find helpful or supportive to your healing:

Take care of your health
It is important to take care of your body. If the trauma was recent, be sure to see a doctor for medical attention. Take care of your body every day by getting enough sleep, eating well and exercising. There is a connection between your body’s health and your emotional and psychological health.

Ask for support from those you trust
It is important to ask for help from those you trust and to share your feelings. Perhaps you have a friend, family member, or doctor you can talk to. Isolating from others can make things worse.

Practice self-care and grounding strategies
Trauma can often leave someone feeling ungrounded and overwhelmed. Practice some of these self-care and grounding strategies:

  • meditation or deep-breathing exercises
  • yoga, tai chi or another type of exercise or stretching
  • talking to a trusted person
  • creative activities, such as drawing, painting, dance, journaling, making music

Seek out a trauma therapist
You may find it helpful to talk to a professional therapist about your trauma history. It will likely take time to work through trauma-related difficulties. This can be difficult, but can also lead to better coping and a more balanced life. You may start by asking your family doctor if s/he knows of a therapist who specializes in trauma. You can also try calling a women-focused health centre. We are working on putting together a list of resources across Canada. Check this website in the near future for these updates.

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  • A publication of:
  • Women's College Hospital