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:

You might feel all sorts of things after something bad has happened. Everybody is different, but we’re here to support you.

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.

Grounding yourself and feeling calmer

When you're having difficult thoughts or memories it can sometimes feel like you're stuck in the past. Or you might feel like you can't stop thinking about the future.

Grounding yourself means focusing on your body and what's happening right now instead of what's going on in your mind. It can help to bring you back to the present.

There are lots of ways to ground yourself. It can take some time and practice to find what works for you, but you can try these things anytime and anywhere.

Use your senses

Focusing on things you can touch, see, hear, taste and smell can help to remind you of where you are and help you to feel safe. Try grounding yourself by:

  • touching something soft or hard, like a rock or toy. Or you could pop some bubble wrap
  • looking at what's around you, try naming the colours of the objects you can see or counting the number of things you can see that are made of wood
  • listening to a piece of music you enjoy or naming any noises you can hear outside
  • tasting something bitter, like a lemon or focusing on sucking a mint.

talking about what's happened

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 and make you feel more connected to your life.

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 saw happen to someone else.

A trauma could be a single event in your life, or something that's happened for a long time. Or it could be something you've seen happen to someone else, like domestic abuse.

How can you feel after a trauma?

Trauma affects people in different ways. And going through something difficult doesn't mean you'll always be affected after.

If you're experiencing trauma, you might:

  • feel shaky or disorientated
  • get anxious or having panic attacks
  • have nightmares, flashbacks or night terrors
  • struggle to get to sleep or sleep more than normal
  • get distracted easily, or lose interest in things you used to enjoy.

Lots of the physical feelings you have are your body's way of letting out difficult feelings. For example, shaking can help you release tension and feel calmer.

You might want to avoid your feelings after a trauma, but it's important to get support.

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.