First Time User? Enroll now.
COVID-19: Vaccine information, visitor restrictions, and additional resources | Medicaid: The program is changing and you must take steps to keep your UNC Health providers
Home > Health Library > Helping Your Teen Recover After a Traumatic Event
A traumatic event is a very upsetting event that your teen sees or that happens to your teen or to someone they love. It may put someone's life in danger. Or it may cause serious injury. A car crash, a wild fire, the death of a loved one, abuse, and violence are some examples.
Teens respond to traumatic events in different ways. But having some type of reaction is common. Teens may react to the event right away, or days, weeks, or months later.
After the event your teen may:
Most teens get better over time. But if you're concerned about your teen's symptoms or behaviors, contact your teen's doctor or counselor.
If you feel your teen might hurt themself, get help right away. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). Or text HOME to 741741 to access the Crisis Text Line.
Here are some ways you can support your teen after a traumatic event.
A trained counselor can offer your teen some extra help. You may also want to find a counselor for yourself. You can ask your doctor for a referral. Or you might contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). You can call the NAMI HelpLine (1-800-950-6264) or go online (www.nami.org/help) to chat with a trained volunteer.
Some teens may need extra hugs or family time to help them feel safe and loved.
Respond calmly when your teen is upset. If you're feeling emotional, it's okay to take some time to yourself.
If it seems hard to start a conversation, you could ask open-ended questions. For example, you could ask your teen how their day is going.
When you are honest about how you feel, it teaches your teen that their feelings are okay too.
Teens do better when they know what to expect. Follow your usual schedule for things like meals, school, activities, and bedtime.
Being around close, supportive friends can help take your teen's mind off things. You could also plan fun family activities.
Together, you could practice ways to relax. For example, you could listen to calming music, try meditation, or spend time outdoors. Also make sure to get regular exercise, eat healthy foods, and get enough sleep.
Current as of:
September 20, 2021
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Andrew Littlefield PhD - Psychology, Behavioral HealthLesley Ryan MD - Family Medicine
Current as of: September 20, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Andrew Littlefield PhD - Psychology, Behavioral Health & Lesley Ryan MD - Family Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2021 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.