The effects of the trauma can sometimes be overwhelming for students. Old memories can come back any time, causing distress and intruding into study time and affecting concentration and performance. When this happens, you may want help.

What is a traumatic experience

A traumatic event is something which threatens your life or safety, or the lives of people around you. It might be a natural disaster such as a bushfire, flood or earthquake, or a serious accident, or a physical or sexual assault.

It is normal to experience strong emotions and stress after a traumatic event. Signs that you have been through a traumatic event include:

  • feeling nervous or on edge
  • shock, fear, anger, sadness
  • changes in sleep patterns, nightmares
  • frequent thoughts of the incident or flashbacks
  • avoidance of people or situations that remind you of the event
  • increased use of alcohol and drugs.

Learn more about trauma at Headspace and about bullying, abuse and violence at Reachout.

What you can do

If you are experiencing distress after an event that:

  • lasts for more than two weeks
  • is getting worse
  • is interfering with activities that you enjoy, school, work, or your relationships
  • makes you think of harming yourself or someone else,

contact the Counselling Service.

Traumatic experiences can lead to depression and anxiety, and thinking that is harmful, if you don’t start to feel better after the event it is important to seek help.

Simple things

  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Do some enjoyable exercise, this uses up the energy your body is releasing whilst it is stressed.
  • Re-establish your routine to feel that your world is safe and predictable again. Do this by:
    • going to bed and waking at regular times
    • going to work or uni as normal
    • eating regularly and eat healthy food, avoid sugary food
    • doing activities that give you some enjoyment
    • staying connected to friends, and tell them you are distressed as a result of the trauma.
  • Avoid excessive use of alcohol and drugs.

Apps that help

Feeling traumatised is very stressful. Learn to quieten your mind with Smiling Mind (iOS).

Traumatic experiences and your study

Traumatic events can severely disrupt your study patterns and ability to do your assessments. If as a result of a traumatic event you are unable to complete assessments that are due, you are eligible to apply for special consideration.

Community support

Victorian Center Against Sexual Assault (CASA) provides specialist counselling after a sexual assault.