Getting through a tough time

When something bad happens, it can affect you in lots of ways. And sometimes it can take a while before you start to feel better. But no matter what's happened, we're here to help.

how you might feel

Lots of things can affect how you feel after a difficult or scary experience. 

It could be something's happened to you, or someone close to you. Or it could have happened to a stranger on the street, at school or on TV. When something like this happens, you might feel:

However you feel, we're here to help.

3 facts about difficult experiences:

  • there's no right or wrong way to feel after something bad happens
  • talking can really help. And if it doesn't help first time, keep trying
  • it may take time, but things can get better.

is this normal?

You might feel all sorts of things after something bad has happened. But there's no right or wrong way to feel. Feelings can affect everyone in different ways.

For some people, these feelings last a minute. But for others, they can last a long time.

Sometimes these feelings don't start straight away - they might happen later when you're somewhere safe. And they can sometimes happen when you least expect it.

However it's affecting you, it's always ok to ask for support.

finding ways to feel better

Everyone's different, and it can take time to feel better. But there are small things you can do every day that can help you to feel better. Take one step at a time.

And remember, if things feel overwhelming or you need support, you can always talk to us.

Things to try right now

If you're struggling with your thoughts or feelings, it can help to focus on things around you. Try naming:

  • 5 things you can see
  • 4 things you can touch or feel
  • 3 things you can hear
  • 2 things you can smell
  • 1 thing you can taste.

talking about what's happened

When something scary or upsetting happens, it can be difficult to know how to cope. You might worry that it could happen again, or that you won't ever be safe. But you're not alone.

It can take time, but talking to someone you trust can help you to see things differently and think about ways to cope.

Talking to someone doesn't mean you have to open up if you're not ready. But spending time with people and doing things you enjoy can help take your mind off things. Over time, you might feel able to share what's happened at a time that feels comfortable and on your terms.


Everyone can feel in danger sometimes, like when you cross a busy road.

But when the danger feels overwhelming or like your life is in danger, this is trauma.

Lots of things can make us feel traumatised. It could be something that happened to you directly, like being abused or being in an accident.

Or it could be something you've seen happen to someone else, like domestic abuse.

what does trauma feel like?

Trauma affects people in different ways. And going through something difficult doesn't mean you'll always experience trauma.

If you're experiencing trauma, you might:

Some signs of trauma:

  • feeling shaky or disorientated
  • feeling anxious or having panic attacks
  • having nightmares, flashbacks or night terrors
  • difficulty getting to sleep or wanting to sleep a lot more than usual.

Helping a friend with their mental health

It can be difficult to know what to say when a friend tells you they have a mental health issue. But talking about mental health doesn’t have to feel awkward. There are lots of ways you can support a friend and show you care.