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Help for secondary school pupils

Normal reactions to sudden and upsetting events

Do not be surprised if you keep thinking about the incident. You may be asking, “Why did it happen? What could I have done?

At times you may feel tired or sick, or you may have an upset stomach. You may have aches and pains you can’t explain. Sometimes you may be forgetful, or dizzy, or daydreamy. You might get some bad dreams, or find it difficult to go to sleep. You may make mistakes because you’re not concentrating, so take extra care. Someone you might feel very sad or angry, or frightened or guilty. Everyone reacts in a different way, and you may find that you don’t feel any of these things. That is O.K.

Coping with a sudden and upsetting event

Everyone reacts to upsetting events in a slightly different way and each person finds that there are different things that can help. Some of the suggestions may help you:

  1. Talk about how you feel - It usually helps to talk about how you feel. You are not alone. There are people who can help you. If you feel that you want to talk to your friend, or your parents or your teacher, then do. It is good to talk openly about whatever you are feeling, even if it seems silly.
  2. Do something different - There are times when you don’t want to talk or think about it. At those times, it is good to do something entirely different. You may want to go out and do something that you enjoy and that is O.K.
  3. Write a diary - Some people find it helpful to write a diary about that day, and the days that follow. It may be helpful to write or draw things that come to your mind. You don’t have to show these to anybody else, unless you really want to.
  4. Spend quiet time alone - Sometimes you may just want to be alone. It may help to listen to music.
  5. Keep your routines - Try to keep things as normal as possible. Keep going to school, clubs etc.
  6. Look after health - Remember to eat well, exercise and rest when you need to.

Although you will always remember the event, the bad feelings you have had will usually fade after a few weeks. If you continue to be worried make sure that you tell someone who will make sure that you have the support that you need.

Who can I talk to?

Your feelings may be so painful that it is difficult to talk about them. You might prefer to spend some quiet time alone, but at other times you may feel lonely and want to talk to someone.

You could talk to someone in your family such as parents, carers, siblings, grandparents, aunts or uncles, and although you may find this difficult, sharing your feelings may help you to feel better. Other people to talk to might be friends or a trusted adult e.g. a teacher or activity leader.

Sometimes feelings can be so overwhelming that it is important to talk to someone whose job it is to listen, such as a counsellor. There may already be one of these at your school.

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