Effects of Trauma on Mental Health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. It is a time to provide support for people living with trauma and its effects on mental health, to reduce stigma, and advocate for equal care. Millions of Americans and their families feel the effects of trauma on mental health each year, and a portion of those people are survivors of sexual violence.

“Every survivor’s healing journey is unique and it's crucial that we’re aware of the effects trauma can have on mental health,” said Keeli Sorensen, vice president of victim services at RAINN. “It’s time to start speaking openly about mental health concerns, and dismantle the environment of shame, fear, and silence that too often prevents individuals from seeking treatment and support.”

Many survivors of sexual violence experience depression, PTSD, self-harm, eating disorders, and flashbacks after experiencing trauma. Recovering from sexual assault or abuse is a process, and that process looks different for everyone. There is no timetable for healing.

A good way to support survivors living with these effects of trauma is to seek out information about what they may be going through and offer compassion, empathy, and understanding. Many survivors also speak to the importance of finding a therapist who is right for them and their unique experiences.

Check out RAINN’s resources for more information related to mental health:

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