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Coping With Trauma

The recovery process following a severe trauma will take some time. The purpose of this site is to provide the William & Mary community with some tips for self-care and coping.

Coping tips and strategies:
  • Allow room in your schedule for the activities that help you deal with stress. Some examples may include spending time with friends, going for a walk, listening to music, writing in a journal, exercising, or enjoying a favorite movie or dessert. Setting aside even brief periods of time for self-care can be a big help in managing a crisis.
  • Your attention span and concentration levels may fluctuate during the next few weeks. Be sensitive to this by planning out a study schedule that seems feasible to you. For some, this may involve shorter blocks of study time interspersed with shorter, more frequent study breaks.
  • Keep in mind that the grieving/coping process will proceed differently for each of us. Be as supportive of yourself in your recovery as possible. Remind yourself that it's normal and ok to take the time you need to work through such a severe trauma.
  • Be aware that you may have different coping needs at different times. Sometimes you may feel like talking, sometimes you may feel like crying, sometimes you may wish to focus your attention away from the crisis completely.
  • Allow yourself to turn off the news and get some distance from the crisis when you need to. It's O.K. (and important) to have time for laughter and fun, even during a time of national grieving.
  • Reaching out to others in a supportive way can often be quite helpful. Such support may include volunteering time in the community, participating in Red Cross blood drives, or contributing to a campus memorial. Even small acts of support and giving can alleviate some of the helplessness commonly felt after such a severe crisis.
  • For those who would like more information on grieving and coping with tragedy you can visit our self help page.
  • Those wishing to speak with a therapist individually may schedule an appointment by coming by the Center, or calling (757) 221-3620.
  • The Center offers crisis intervention during regular office hours (8:00 a.m.-12:00 noon; 1:00-5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.) For those needing urgent crisis intervention after office hours, the on call therapist can be reached by calling Campus Police at
    (757) 221-4596.