Dealing with trauma after a crime-related incident

“Trauma can leave one struggling with upsetting emotions, flashbacks, and anxiety that won’t go away.”

Most South Africans have been affected by crime, whether through a direct incident, as a bystander or through a loved one.

The emotional toll from a traumatic event can cause intense, confusing and frightening symptoms.

Wayne Lamprecht, Fidelity ADT’s community development manager, says, following an incident, it is critical that not only the victims of an incident get help through counselling, but those indirectly affected too. “Often domestic staff are present to witness an incident or possibly a neighbour or a family member comes to help the victim. All these people can be affected by the trauma in different ways and will need help to deal with the trauma,” he says.

Dr Leanne Mandim, Head of Health and Wellness Solutions for Life EHS, says whether you were directly involved in the traumatic event or exposed to it after the fact, there are steps you can take to recover from the ordeal.

“Trauma can leave one struggling with upsetting emotions, flashbacks, and anxiety that won’t go away. It can also leave you feeling numb, disconnected, and unable to trust other people. Physical symptoms such as insomnia, nightmares, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and even muscle pain are also normal and expected. What’s most important is getting the right assistance. There are also a few self-help strategies that you can use to support your recovery.”

Mandim says everyone needs to understand that recovering from trauma takes time and everyone recovers at their own pace.

“Whether you have been involved in a traumatic incident or you are supporting someone who is traumatized, it’s important not to rush the process. Suppressed or unresolved trauma can have a long-lasting effect on your work life, family life, relationships and more.”

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