Youth and Mental Health 101

Trauma

What is trauma?



Trauma is the long-lasting emotional response that often results from living through a distressing event or situations. Experiencing traumatic events can challenge a person’s sense of safety, sense of self and ability to regulate emotions and manage relationships. Long after the traumatic events, people who have experienced trauma may feel shame, helplessness, powerlessness and fear.1

A traumatic event can be:

    a recent, single traumatic event (e.g., car crash, violent assault)
    a single traumatic event in the past (e.g., a sexual assault, the death of a spouse or child, an accident, living through a natural disaster or a war)
    a long-term, chronic pattern (e.g., ongoing childhood neglect, sexual or physical abuse).

1. CAMH, 2018g