HATTIESBURG, Miss – Just two days ago, the Delta State University community was forced to deal with a traumatic event and the effects can be detrimental to someone’s mental state. Counselors were immediately available to those that wished to speak with someone privately or in a group setting.
The Board of Trustees of the State Institutions of Higher Learning asked that counselors from other universities provide assistance to the campus. The University of Southern Mississippi’s Director of Student Counseling Services, Deena Crawford, visited the campus yesterday to help students debrief in group counseling sessions. She says dealing with a loss is about creating a new normal.
“Being able to revisit something that was traumatic is really helpful. It gives you the opportunity to try to make sense of it; it helps you connect with other people about it and it helps you move past it because you’ve told your story, and it’s sometime easier to move on then.”
Director Crawford says normally those who ask for help move past trauma better than those who internalize feelings. She said even someone that doesn’t have a direct connection can be affected; so developing a new routine is key, “They need to get good sleep, nutrition. A lot of people use substances to escape or self medicate. It’s really important not to do that; try to deal with what you’re dealing with, feel it.”
Crawford said everyone feels acute stress after a trauma and its okay to experience moments of anxiety; but unless it’s faced head-on, there could be long term effects.
“If you haven’t been able to function after a stressful event; if you’re not back to your new normal, it’s important to maybe get some professional help because PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) comes in after acute stress if it can’t get resolved.”
Crawford says that along with tragedy can come good things and realizing that is the process of healing.
“Talking and dealing with things works out better than trying to act like it didn’t happen. I think reaching out and asking for things is really important. And although things might not get back to like before, there is this new normal that can be just as gratifying as before. We usually learn and grow from things like this.”
If you or someone you know is dealing with a traumatic event and needs assistance, contact the Student Counseling Services at USM or a local counseling center.