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Help for Veterans and Others Dealing with Emotional Pain.

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Presentation on theme: "Help for Veterans and Others Dealing with Emotional Pain."— Presentation transcript:

1 Help for Veterans and Others Dealing with Emotional Pain


3  Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event.  Accident  Rape/Physical or Sexual Assault  Natural disaster  Combat

4 Shock, denial, or disbelief Anger, irritability, mood swings Guilt, shame, self-blame Feeling sad or hopeless Confusion, difficulty concentrating Anxiety and fear Withdrawing from others Feeling disconnected or numb Flashbacks/intrusive memories

5 Insomnia or nightmares Being startled easily Racing heartbeat Aches and pains Fatigue Difficulty concentrating Edginess and agitation Muscle tension Nausea


7 Find someone to talk with about how you feel. Allow yourself to feel pain. It will not last forever. Spend time with others, but make time to spend time alone. Take care of your mind and body. Rest, sleep, exercise and eat regular, healthy meals. Re-establish a normal routine as soon as possible, but don't over-do. Make daily decisions, which will help to bring back a feeling of control over your life. Undertake daily tasks with care. Accidents are more likely to happen after severe stress. Recall the things that helped you cope in the past.

8 If you are feeling disoriented, confused, or upset, you can do the following exercise: Sit on a chair. Feel your feet on the ground. Press on your thighs. Feel your behind on the seat and your back against the chair. Look around you and pick six objects that have red or blue. This should allow you to feel in the present, more grounded, and in your body. Notice how your breath gets deeper and calmer. You may want to go outdoors and find a peaceful place to sit on the grass. As you do, feel how your body can be held and supported by the ground.

9 Having trouble functioning at home or work Suffering from severe fear, anxiety, or depression Unable to form close, satisfying relationships Experiencing terrifying memories, nightmares, or flashbacks Avoiding more and more things that remind you of the trauma Emotionally numb and disconnected from others Using alcohol or drugs to feel better


11 Be patient and understanding. Don’t judge your friend or loved one’s reaction against your own response or anyone else’s. Offer practical support to help your friend or loved one get back into a normal routine. Don’t pressure your friend or loved one into talking but be available when he/she wants to talk. Help your loved one or friend to socialize and relax. Don’t take the trauma symptoms personally.

12  What if you think your friend or loved one might be thinking of suicide?

13 Thoughts about harming self that include plan & method Previous suicide attempts Alcohol or substance abuse History of mental illness Poor self-control Hopelessness Recent loss (e.g., loved one, job, relationship) Family history of suicide History of abuse Serious health problems Sexual identity concerns: especially among men 16-24 Recent discharge from hospital, group home etc. Recent diagnosis of an illness Demographic factors: White men over 70 years of age are at increased risk Burdensomeness, Isolation Chronic Pain, PTSD, TBI

14  Multiple deployments  Length of deployments  Deployments to hostile environments  Exposure to extreme stress/death/combat  Physical/sexual assault while in the service (not limited to women)  Service related injuries (TBI, PTSD, other medical and mental health diagnoses)  Familiarity with weapons

15  Positive social support  History of adaptive coping skills  Participating in treatment  Veteran acknowledges hopefulness  Religious beliefs that act as a barrier  Life satisfaction (e.g., rating 1 to 10)  Fear of suicide or death  Family or friends that act as barrier to self-harm (Rudd, 2006)

16  Prior suicide attempts/behavior  Agitation, anxiety OR Sudden calm  Hopelessness or feeling like life is too heavy  Trapped in physical/psychological pain  Talking or writing about death/suicide  Withdrawing and isolating  Seeking means to kill themselves  Acting reckless without regard for safety or death  Self-loathing  Getting affairs in order  Saying good-bye

17  Be yourself.  Listen.  Be sympathetic, non-judgmental, patient, calm, accepting.  Offer hope. Let the person know that his or her life is important to you.  Don’t be afraid to the question: “Are you having thoughts of suicide?”  Encourage him/her to seek professional help.

18  Avoid arguing with the suicidal person.  Avoid saying things like: "You have so much to live for," "Your suicide will hurt your family," or “Look on the bright side.”  Don’t act shocked, lecture on the value of life, or say that suicide is wrong.  Do not promise confidentiality.  Don‘t offer ways to fix their problems.  Do not blame yourself. You can’t “fix” someone’s depression.



21 If you need to speak with someone, please contact Counseling Services. We are located in the Swatara Building. You can reach us at 717-948-6025 to schedule an appointment. Our office is staffed with licensed psychologists, a licensed counselor and a certified addictions counselor.

22     (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention)

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