The ACCESS Programs team has vast experience in developing strategies to assist employees.

Here they share three key pieces of advice for dealing with a workplace trauma. To talk to them about how they could assist with your organisation, please contact them though our Adelaide office.

Coping strategies for employees

  • Talk to colleagues, friends and family about the event and your feelings.
  • Allow yourself time to rest and wind down.
  • Return to your normal activities, even if at first you are not motivated.
  • Exercise to help your system return to normal.
  • Do whatever helps you to feel that you are back in control of your life. Even making small decisions or following a normal routine will help.
  • Seek counselling if you are at all concerned about your reactions. It often helps to talk to someone who is outside the situation.

Things to avoid

  • Refusing help from people around you. You may need additional support at this time.
  • Getting frustrated with yourself or having unrealistic expectations about how long it will take to feel normal again.
  • Making big decisions until you have had time to regain your perspective.
  • Drinking alcohol to excess or taking drugs to help you cope with your symptoms. This can create more problems.

Advice for family and friends

  • Listen carefully when the person wants to talk (they may need to talk about it a number of times to help them come to terms with the event).
  • Reassure them that they are safe.
  • Be patient over the next few weeks. If the person is acting differently, try not to take this personally – it may be a symptom of the trauma.
  • Take care of yourself. Sometimes even hearing about traumatic events can cause concern or strong reactions.
  • Let them know that you are sorry the incident happened and you want to understand and support them.
  • Give practical help as well – with household jobs, child-minding, transport, etc.
  • Don’t push the person to talk – sometimes just spending time with them is enough.
  • Don’t say “You’re lucky, it could have been worse”. This rarely consoles traumatised people.