Responses to Stress, Crisis and Trauma

Everyone experiences a crisis, trauma or unusual stress. However, your response to crisis is very individual and can be influenced by many factors, including:

  • The type and severity of the crisis
  • Your previous experience in personal crisis
  • The availability of emotional support
  • Your ability to do self-care activities

A person’s reaction to a stressor, traumatic event or crisis can take many forms. Typical responses can include:

Responses to Stress Chart

If you experience chest pains, rapid heartbeat or increased blood pressure, call 9-1-1 or have these symptoms checked out at a hospital immediately.

All of these responses are normal and are how we process a traumatic event or stressful situation. When a child experiences stress and trauma, he or she may also manifest many of these reactions.

If any of these responses continue for several weeks and do not diminish over time, it is important that you seek help from a friend, loved one, physician or a counselor.
Within King County, Washington, you can anonymously and confidentially talk with a professionally trained volunteer about your situation and obtain a referral to a mental health counselor by contacting the 24-Hour Crisis Line.

Outside of King County, please call 9-1-1 if you believe you have a life-threatening emergency. If you are considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (273-2737).