Trauma Response Services
The Trauma Response Services offered through Shepell·fgi may be utilized for situations that occur at Queen’s University. If you are aware of a situation where this service could be of benefit, please contact:
Lorna Baxter, Human Resources, 533-6000 extension 77794, firstname.lastname@example.org
People who are unexpectedly plunged into a dangerous or stressful situation often experience psychological trauma. While psychological trauma is not as visible as the bodily injury of physical trauma, it can cause deep, persistent wounds to the psyche and emotions.
Traumatic experiences may include:
- Robberies and acts of violence
- Sudden deaths or illnesses
- Natural disasters (i.e. earthquakes, tornadoes, ice storms)
- Serious or fatal accidents in the workplace
- Threats of violence (i.e. bomb threats)
- Sexual abuse or harassment
- Fraud or other crimes in the workplace
Though shock is a well-known physical sign of psychological trauma, victims may also experience severe imbalances of despair, confusion, depression and fear.
WHAT’S THE CONNECTION TO TRAUMA RESPONSE SERVICES?
The Trauma Response Service aims to restore emotional equilibrium and help victims resume fully functioning lives after a traumatic event through a process called a Trauma Debriefing. During the trauma debriefing, victims can discuss their feelings and receive specialized counseling.
Shepell·fgi takes great pride in its ability to respond quickly, effectively and compassionately. Their trained and experienced professionals are able to make a positive impact within hours.
THE TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCE
An unexpected, senseless and possibly violent event has just occurred affecting you, the victim and your co-workers. This single incident can take away your senses of security and well-being. It will certainly, for a short time, impair your ability to function normally.
- Lack of energy
- Heart palpitations
- Chest pains
- Neck or back pain
- Change in appetite
- Dizzy spells
- Insomnia / Nightmares
- Shaky feeling
- Anger / Rage
- Heightened level of suspicion
- Easily startled
- Loss of interest in sex
- Losing trust in those you’ve trusted
- Anxiety / Helplessness
- Inability to concentrate
- Lack of interest in intimacy
- Overprotection of children
- Making small errors
- Repetition of work tasks already done
- Decrease in quality of work
- Reluctance to go back to work
- Tendency to over-work
- Missing points or details mentioned in discussions/meetings
THINGS YOU CAN DO
One or more of the following tips may help you get through the period following the traumatic event.
- Avoid excess caffeine or alcohol
- Drink plenty of water
- Get a good night’s sleep
- Include fibre and green vegetables in your meal
- Participate in moderate exercise (i.e. Take a walk at lunch/break)
- Discuss the group process with your supervisor scheduling a structured daily routine
- Encourage yourself to go back to work
- Keep to your normal routine as much as possible
- Maintain regular activities outside of the home (i.e. work, errands, appointments, volunteer work, sports, etc.)
- Maintain social activities. Do not isolate yourself
- Return physical surroundings to its original appearance
- Talk about the specifics of the event with your friends and family. Tell them it’s importance for you to talk it out.
- Take a warm (not hot) bath
- Write down your thoughts
SUPPORT THE FAMILY CAN GIVE
- Listen. Encourage openness and listen to whatever your family member has to say no matter how many times it needs to be said. Remember that your family member is not looking for advice. It’s also important that you do not minimize the experience or your family member’s reaction to it.
- Control Your Reactions. Maintain the focus on what actually happened and how the person is feeling.
- Encourage Your Family Member to go Back to Work. Although he/she may feel like quitting, it will not change what has already happened and may prevent full recovery.
- Include the Whole Family in the Healing Process. Include all family members in discussions so that they can gain perspective and cope with their feelings as well as the person affected.
- Watch for Signs of Strain in Your Relationship. Marital problems are common after a traumatic event. Family members are eligible for counselling through your Employee Assistance Program.
- Take Care of Yourself. Don’t take on more than you can handle to support and protect the affected family member. Ask your friends and other family members for help.
SUPPORT A CO-WORKER CAN GIVE
- Acknowledge the Event. Don’t pretend it didn’t happen. Be an attentive listener. Don’t ask a lot of questions, let your co-worker set the pace.
- Offer Long-Term Support. There is no set recovery period for this type of experience.
- Offer Practical Support. “Do you want some company for lunch?” or “Would you like a ride home?” rather than, “Let me know if I can help.”
- Be Observant. Look for signs of prolonged emotional distress (more than 4-6 weeks). Suggest additional support or counseling if this distress does not seem to go away.
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