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Mental Health Monday: It’s okay to admit you’re not okay when dealing with trauma

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) – Trauma can happen to anyone at any age. It is a very common mental health condition, but is believed to affect more people than statistics show.

"70% of adults have had a traumatic experience and 90% of people with behavioral health issues have had a traumatic experience," Licensed Clinical Social Worker Stefanie Westover says.

While those numbers make trauma seem common enough, it's believed even more than 70% of people experience trauma in their lifetime. Westover says, "I think that that's in part because we're not fully appreciating the demand we're putting on our nervous systems, and sometimes we have that mentality of, 'Oh, it's fine, I was fine.'"

The National Council for Behavioral Health explains trauma as an overwhelming event or series of events and circumstances causing the body to respond with intense feelings of fear or helplessness.

There are 3 types of trauma:

  • Acute – Typically happens from a single incident
  • Chronic – Typically happens from repeated and prolonged events like domestic violence or abuse.
  • Complex – Exposure to varied events in invasive or interpersonal nature.

Trauma can come from abuse, neglect, war, natural disasters and more.

Even if not experienced first hand, repeated exposure can overwhelm the nervous system and create stress.

"Our bodies are not traumatized by what actually happened. They're traumatized by what our brains and bodies believe happened," Westover says.

It's intensity can differ from person to person, "Our brain can't make a complete distinction between reality and just a movie. And so that creates secondary trauma," Westover says, "Am I saying that somebody who watched five violent movies now has PTSD? Absolutely not. That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that we take our nervous systems for granted."

The first step is to admit and accept how certain situations affect you. And remember, It's okay to not be okay.

For more information on trauma and ways to get help, CLICK HERE.

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Kailey Galaviz

Kailey is a morning anchor and reporter for Local News 8 and Eyewitness News 3


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