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Psychological trauma can result when a person is involved or witnesses a highly distressing or threatening event.

Image by Justin Kauffman

Examples of Traumatic Events*

  • Physical, sexual, or psychological abuse and neglect (including trafficking)

  • Natural and technological disasters or terrorism

  • Family or community violence

  • Sudden or violent loss of a loved one

  • Substance use disorder (personal or familial)

  • Refugee and war experiences (including torture)

  • Serious accidents or life-threatening illness

  • Military family-related stressors (e.g., deployment, parental loss or injury)

*The National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Mental health conditions are common among teens and young adults. 50% of all lifetime mental illnesses develop by age 14 and 75% develop by age 24.


Stone Tower


Symptoms of Traumatic Stress*

  • Isolation

  • Lack of empathy

  • Unexplained physical illness

  • Emotional

  • Sleep problems

  • Lack of self-esteem

  • Negative body image

  • Feelings of shame and/or guilt

  • Hypervigilance/fearful

*The National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Potential Outcomes of Traumatic Stress

Impulsive Behaviors

"Trauma has been shown to adversely affect many of the neurobiological systems responsible for cognitive development and the regulation of emotions and behavior."

Poor School Performance

According to a National School Boards Association resource on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), “childhood trauma is among the most relevant and significant psycho-social factors affecting education today.”

Reckless, Risk Taking, Agressive Behaviors

"The longer traumatic stress goes untreated, the greater the risk of developing maladaptive and potential dangerous coping mechanisms."

Substance Abuse

"Reported rates of substance abuse following trauma exposure range from 25% to 76% and research has shown that more than half of young people with PTSD subsequently develop substance abuse problems."

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