The Trauma and Healing of Survivors

Healing through Trauma-Responsive Counseling

The COVID pandemic has significantly impacted mental and emotional health for young and old everywhere. The World Health Organization reports that COVID caused a 25% increase in anxiety and depression worldwide, increasing the needs for all types of mental health services.

At Safe+Sound Somerset, we are seeing the impact of the past few years on the mental health of survivors of interpersonal violence – who’s personal trauma is compounded by systemic and global trauma like the COVID pandemic – and experiencing increased demand for our trauma responsive counseling.

Sexual violence impacts a survivor’s emotional health in profound ways. Experiences such as shock, fear, anxiety, confusion, and withdrawal are common immediate reactions that can stay long after the trauma itself. According to RAINN, 94% of women who are raped experience PTSD symptoms in the two weeks following the attack, and 30% of women experience symptoms nine months later.

The long-term effect of trauma touches all areas of wellbeing: physical, social, and emotional. Sexual trauma is associated with mental health concerns such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, self-harm, and suicidal behaviors. Sexual violence shows higher likelihood of developing PTSD than other traumas (Kessler et al, 1995). The trauma related to sexual violence also negatively affects a survivor’s self-image, including unhealthy preoccupations with body image.

Overwhelming trauma experiences can lead to unhealthy coping strategies to numb pain, such as alcohol and substance misuse, or an attempt to regain control over something in their life, such as disordered eating or exercise. Withdrawing from loved ones and other difficulties in relationships with friends or peers often lead to limited support, which is especially difficult in a time of crisis when help is crucial. These factors can lead to chronic pain and other physical illnesses.

But, there are still reasons for hope! A survivor’s journey towards healing can start right now – or any other time when they are ready. Whether it’s immediately after the trauma or decades later, it is never too late! The resiliency and strength of survivors flourish when provided with trauma-responsive care and support.

Safe+Sound Somerset can provide the trauma-responsive counseling to begin the process of empowerment and healing for all survivors.

To find out more, reach out to our confidential call and text helpline which is available 24-hours a day, 7 days a week at 866-685-1122 or go to www.safe-sound.org.