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Traumatic events like car accidents, natural disasters, combat or the loss of a loved one can have a devastating impact on the mental health of those who witness or experience it. Some people may experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result. If you recognize someone is struggling, consider these tips:

  • Ask for permission to talk about it.
  • Resist prying for detailed information.
  • Avoid reflexively saying “I’m sorry.”
  • Don’t call someone a hero – they may not feel like one.
  • Express that it can get better with treatment, but acknowledge it may get worse first.
  • Normalize their reaction and emotions.
  • Anticipate any triggers.
  • Don’t take their behavior personally.
  • Let them know it’s okay to seek help and treatment.

If you expect someone may be at risk of harming themselves or others, seek emergency medical help. Call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or dial 988.

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