February 2020 - Common Reactions to Trauma

At some point in our lives, we are all likely to experience or be affected by some form of trauma – whether it be experiencing a life event of our own or witnessing another person experience trauma. Regardless of the cause, the trauma creates a lasting impression on our brain.

Psychology Today has explained 21 common reactions to trauma including anger, avoidance and sadness. And although everyone is different and will experience trauma differently based on various personal and societal factors, what is common is that there is support. There are supports and resources available (school-based mental health professionals such as Psychological Services and School Social Workers) at the school for students who need to speak with someone. If you have concerns about your child’s well-being, please contact your school Principal.

At YRDSB, we have Tips for Supporting Children and Youth after a Concerning Event at School. These tips can help guide families when dealing with and helping to support their children during a difficult and traumatic experience. Board staff can also reinforce students’ sense of safety and well-being by: Creating a calm, predictable and welcoming classroom and school environment. Bolstering well-being and healthy coping strategy activities. Following the student’s lead in discussing their concerns, (if students aren’t discussing their concerns, keep focused on your regular school activities). Listening for and responding to students who may be struggling and accessing appropriate mental health resources for students and families as needed. For more information, please see the YRDSB Mental Health webpage.

Release of the YRDSB Student Suicide Intervention Protocol York Region District School Board is committed to student well-being and mental health. YRDSB has developed a Student Suicide Intervention Protocol to help keep students safe in the event of suicidal thoughts or actions. The Student Suicide Intervention Protocol will be implemented starting Fall 2019. Youth suicide is a complex, emotionally-charged and sadly a real problem in Canada. It is the second leading cause of death amongst young people. It’s important to recognize that those who struggle with mental health have personal strength and resilience and the potential to overcome difficulties to ultimately thrive.

The YRDSB Student Suicide Intervention Protocol is designed to address the six steps involved when responding to current and present thoughts of suicide, as well as actions related to suicide. In addition, the Protocol is governed by a set of guiding principles which are underpinned by a culturally responsive and reflective practice.

Suicide is not culturally neutral. Our cultural and ethnic backgrounds will inform how each of us understands suicide. To see all the guiding principles, refer to the print version of the protocol on the on the board website YRDSB-Student Suicide Intervention Protocol. If you have any questions about the Student Suicide Intervention Protocol, please contact your school principal.