The growing dialogue surrounding trauma is shedding much-needed light on this important issue, but the term is often misused online. Engaging in authentic and accurate discussions about trauma can empower individuals to speak up about their experiences and seek the support they need.

Need to Know

The term “trauma” is often used casually to describe tough situations, but it’s really about the lasting emotional and physical effects of seriously distressing events.

A traumatic event is a shocking, scary, or dangerous experience that can affect someone emotionally and physically.

Examples of traumatic events include violence, sexual assault, abuse, accidents, and natural disasters.

Trauma is subjective. What may be traumatic for one person may not be for another, and everyone processes and heals from trauma differently.

Trauma can manifest in various ways, including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other mental health challenges.

Trauma typically involves experiencing or observing an event in real life, but watching violent videos and seeing disturbing images can also be traumatic for some viewers.

Trauma requires professional support and treatment, including medication and trauma-informed therapy.

Friends and family can also play a powerful role by recognizing the warning signs of emotional challenges resulting from difficult experiences or trauma.

Things to Avoid

Steer clear of graphic descriptions or detailed accounts of traumatic events, since they can be triggering for people who have experienced similar situations.

Refrain from making assumptions about whether someone has experienced trauma or how they should respond to or recover from traumatic events.

Don’t use the term “PTSD” unless that condition has been diagnosed by a professional.

Do not share videos of a violent event, abuse, racism, or homophobia.

Avoid presenting yourself as an expert unless you have the credentials to do so. Instead, direct your audience to qualified professionals.

Be cautious not to inadvertently glorify or romanticize trauma, which can undermine the serious nature of its impact on individuals.

Your Opportunity

When appropriate, share your own experiences with trauma in a way that focuses on the journey of healing and resilience, rather than the details of the traumatic event.

Share resources and information on where to find professional help, such as therapy, support groups, and crisis hotlines.

Encourage self-care and healthy coping mechanisms, highlighting activities or practices that support mental and emotional well-being.

Use content warnings or trigger warnings when discussing topics related to trauma to allow your followers to make informed choices.


The Jed Foundation →

Visit JED’s Resource Center to learn more about depression and sadness.

Institute of Health →

Learn more about coping with trauma from the National Institute of Mental Health.

Dial 988 Hotline →

Dial 988 for a free conversation with a trained counselor 24/7.

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