Special credit to Julie Carlson (MSW, RCSW)
What is trauma?
- Psychological trauma can be defined as experiences that overwhelm an individual’s capacity to cope. Trauma is common.
- 3/4 Canadians will experience a traumatic event in their lifetime.
- 1/10 Canadians will meet the criteria for a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point in their lives.
- Childhood trauma is directly related to future mental health concerns, chronic disease, and addictions.
Trauma and the nervous system
- When trauma occurs, the nervous system has a fight, flight or freeze response.
- For some, the trauma symptoms don’t resolve. As a result, the nervous system can become dysregulated and hypervigilant.
- The effects of trauma can be cumulative, whereas the last event may be the one that triggers the PSTD.
Symptoms that can occur after trauma
- Having nightmares, thoughts or memories of the event when you don’t want to.
- Trying hard not to think of the event or avoiding people, places or situations that remind you of the event.
- Feeling detached or disconnected from people and your surroundings or feeling numb.
- Feeling “on edge” and “on guard” and startling easily.
- If these symptoms last more than a month, someone may want to be assessed for PTSD.
Who Can Help?
If you think you have PTSD or trauma symptoms, it is important to get further assessments.
- Talk to your family doctor.
- Talk to a mental health professional, such as a therapist.
- Trauma can be treated!
If You Are In Crisis
Call the crisis line at [1-800-784-2433] or attend your local hospital emergency department.
Low Cost/Free Trauma Counselling Resources
General lower cost/free counselling
- Moving Forward Family Services (Surrey/Vancouver) [movingforwardfamilyservices.com]
- Your local mental health center (e.g. Surrey Mental Health)
Women’s services (for women who have experienced violence)
- Sources Community Resource Centres (South Surrey) [sourcesbc.ca]
- Surrey Women’s Centre [surreywomenscentre.ca]
- Women’s Resource Society of the Fraser Valley [wrsfv.ca]
- Ishtar Transition House Society (Langley) [ishtarsociety.org]
- Atira Women’s Resource Society (Vancouver) [atira.bc.ca]
- Tri-City Transitions (Port Coquitlam) [tricitytransitions.com]
- Family Services of Greater Vancouver (Vancouver/Richmond) Counselling for Childhood trauma [fsgv.ca]
- BC Society for Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse (Vancouver) [bc-malesurvivors.com]
- Vancouver Association for Survivors of Torture and Political Violence [vast-vancouver.ca]
University Training Centres (will at times offer trauma-specific counselling)
- SFU Community Counselling Clinic (Surrey) [604-587-7320]
- UBC Community Counselling Clinic (New West) [604-525-6651]
- Trinity Western Clinic (Langley/Abbotsford) [fraserrivercounselling.ca]
- Residential Historical Abuse Program (Residential School Survivors and their family members). Contact the First Nations Health Authority for information on how to apply by phone [1-866-913-0033]
- Crime Victim Assistance Counselling Funding (refer to eligibility guidelines); search “Crime Victim Assistance” on [www2.gov.bc.ca] or call [1-866-660-3888]
- Veterans Affairs Canada [www.veterans.gc.ca/eng]