Trauma

Trauma in children may be:

  • A one-off experience, such as a car crash
  • Living in an atmosphere that feels unsafe, or where they are witness to violence
  • Experiencing, or witnessing, harm
  • Experiences of war, or of becoming a refugee
  • Stressful and challenging experiences are a part of life, and most children will experience these at some point. This becomes traumatic if the event is more than a child can make sense of, or cope with.

To learn more about Trauma in Children, please refer to our informational and real-life experiences videos.

Nip in the Bud is very grateful to the UK Trauma Council for permitting us to show on our website their series of four excellent animation films.
The UK Trauma Council’s work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License.

Watch our Films

My Voice Matters

We speak with children and young people featured in our films about their experience of mental health and neurodiversity and why their voice and perspective matters.

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Trauma in children

In this 10-minute film we hear from young people who witnessed the Grenfell tragedy about their experience of trauma. Our experts Dr Sian Williams and Dr David Trickey explain how the traumatic experience can affect the brain and the body. Sounds, sights or smells can remind them of the trauma.

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What is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?

Many young people will go through trauma – where they felt very scared for themselves or for someone else. Sometimes, this can lead to mental health difficulties such as post-traumatic stress disorder (or PTSD). In this video you will learn about PTSD – what it might look like or feel like, the main symptoms, and where you might go if you need help or support.

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What is trauma-focused CBT?

Trauma-focused cognitive behaviour therapies are our best-evidenced way to help young people to overcome post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Learn about what trauma-focused CBT is and how it can help someone to face and overcome their traumas.

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Coping with scary and distressing memories

When young people go through traumas one of the hardest things to deal with can be their memories of what happened. This video gives brief advice on what you can do to help cope with memories that are very scary or distressing, and where you can turn to for support.

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Absolutely not: and other thoughts you might have about mental health support

After you’ve been through very frightening experiences, asking for help and getting mental health support can feel scary or overwhelming. Sometimes it might feel like there is no one that could possibly help. This video talks about getting mental health support after trauma, and why, even if it feels hard, it can be helpful.

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Further information:

What is traumatic for one child, may not be traumatic for another. It depends on how the child feels as a result of what has happened. If your child has experienced Trauma, they will be feeling very distressed, and this may show up as nightmares, physical aches and pains, or vomiting. Or they may suddenly need help to do things they could previously do such as the ability to feed or go to the toilet by themselves. They may also experience flashbacks to the traumatic event.

These reactions, which are a natural response to Trauma, may lessen over the following weeks. If they don’t, then your child will need support to give them the best chance of recovery.

It is important to talk to your child about their feelings. Let them know that they are not alone and that it is safe for them to feel and to express whatever they are going through. Normalising their feelings will help to lessen their anxiety and help them to process their experiences.

Trauma that is not dealt with may have a lasting impact on a child, or young person’s, development and personality. It isn’t easy to see your child in distress, and you may want to reach out for support yourself.

If you are concerned about your child, please consult a GP for help and support and speak to the child’s school.

Read and download the Trauma and Children factsheet written by Dr David Trickey.