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Normalizing Mental Health Support for Survivors of Trauma  

May marks Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to shed light on the importance of mental well-being and to break down the barriers that prevent individuals from seeking support. Radiant Futures invites everyone to join in normalizing the act of seeking mental health services, particularly for those impacted by traumatic experiences such as domestic violence or human trafficking. 

Recognizing the need for mental health support may not always be as easy as we may think. Traumatic experiences like domestic violence and human trafficking often leave deep emotional wounds. Individuals may grapple with a myriad of emotions including: 

  1. Grief: Individuals affected by domestic violence or human trafficking may grieve the loss of their sense of security, the rupture of relationships, or the erosion of their self-concept leading to feelings of emptiness and despair. 
  1. Loss: In the context of trauma, individuals may experience the loss of trust in others, the breakdown of relationships, and the shattering of their sense of security.  
  1. Shame and Guilt: Shame involves a pervasive sense of unworthiness or defectiveness, often stemming from internalized beliefs about one’s perceived flaws or failures. Guilt, on the other hand, arises from feelings of responsibility for wrongdoing or harm inflicted on others. These feelings can be exacerbated by societal stigma and misconceptions about the dynamics of abuse, leading survivors to internalize blame and struggle with self-acceptance. 
  1. Feelings of Inadequacy: In the aftermath of trauma, individuals may be challenged with profound feelings of inadequacy resulting from the manipulation, degradation, and devaluation they experienced. Survivors may internalize negative messages about their worth and capabilities, leading to diminished self-esteem and self-confidence.  
  1. Self-Blame: Survivors may wrestle with believing that they somehow provoked or deserved the abuse or exploitation they endured. This distorted belief can be reinforced by those who cause harm by manipulating and gaslighting survivors into accepting responsibility for the violence inflicted upon them. Self-blame can perpetuate feelings of helplessness and resignation, hindering survivors’ ability to seek help. 

Recognizing and addressing these emotions is essential for survivors to heal and reclaim agency over their lives, paving the way for recovery and resilience. In California, research shows that while 1 in 7 adults suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder only about 36% received mental health services (California Health Care Foundation, 2022).  

Mental health encompasses our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act, and plays a crucial role in navigating life’s challenges. The following are four actions one can take to breakdown the stigma of seeking support when emotions are overwhelming and life experiences seem to take over our daily lives.  

  1. Educate Yourself: Learn about mental health, trauma, and available support services. 
  1. Reach Out: Don’t hesitate to seek help from trusted friends, family, or professionals. 
  1. Join Support Groups: Connect with others who have experienced similar challenges for mutual support and understanding. 
  1. Cultivate Resilience: Explore coping mechanisms, resilience-building activities, and mindfulness practices to strengthen your ability to navigate challenges and maintain mental well-being. 

Let us work together to destigmatize seeking mental health support. By creating safe, trauma-informed spaces, we can ensure that everyone feels empowered to address their emotional needs and move towards a more radiant future. If you or someone you know needs assistance, please call our 24/7 Helpline at (877) 531-5522. In a life-threatening situation, please contact 911 or 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. 

  

References: 

Radiant Futures is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Federal Tax ID# 51-0201813

Copyright © 2024 Radiant Futures. All Rights Reserved.

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Radiant Futures is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Federal Tax ID# 51-0201813

Copyright © 2024 Radiant Futures. All Rights Reserved.