Supporting young people after a trauma (13-18 year olds)

Emergencies and disasters are extremely stressful, and it is normal to feel overwhelmed. The mental health and wellbeing of the whole community, including young people, children, and even infants, can be affected. The following information provides a starting point for you to help children and young people in your life navigate the mental health and wellbeing impacts of the recent storm. 

Some key reminders

  • A young person’s reactions following a traumatic event are significantly influenced by their age and developmental stage.
  • Most will recover from a traumatic event over time, with some experiencing positive change for the better. However, some young people will continue to experience difficulties.
  • Some young people will seem fine at first, then be distressed at a later point.
  • Young people may experience distress even if they did not experience the event personally.
  • Parents and carers will also be dealing with their own grief and loss and may need increased support to provide stability and routine for their children.

Typical reactions from children aged 13- 18 years old*

Please note, these reactions are common however your child will have their own personal reactions or responses to trauma and stress.

  • mood or personality changes
  • anxiety or worried about lots of things
  • increased tension, irritability or aggression
  • efforts to avoid reminders of the event
  • diminished attention, or being easily distracted or ‘blanking out’ for longer periods of time
  • rebellion against or disdain for authority
  • reluctance to go to school or see others
  • academic difficulties or trouble at school
  • withdrawing into themselves, not speaking to others or seeing their friends
  • a new awareness of death and mortality
  • new fears or old fears coming back
  • changes in normal eating and sleeping patterns
  • acting out by hurting others or themselves, taking risks or getting into fights with others