Yesterday, a series of bombings in Sri Lanka killed over 200 people and injured hundreds more, in what police have called coordinated terrorist attacks. While the attacks may be over, their health consequences have only begun. In addition to physical injuries, the survivors of the bombings will be at risk of a range of mental health challenges, from depression to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They are, sadly, not alone in experiencing this risk. The drivers of trauma are all around us—from natural disasters, to gun violence, to racism, homophobia, and the many forms of interpersonal abuse. The bombings are just the latest reminder that trauma is a ubiquitous human experience that touches millions daily and should be of concern to public health.
The Burden of Traumatic Events
Traumatic events are a common experience. A general population surveyconducted in 24 countries showed that more than 70 percent of respondents experienced a traumatic event, and 30.5 percent had experienced four or more events. Traumatic events (TEs) range from threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence, to the unexpected death of loved ones. The most common TE exposures include the unexpected death of a loved one, mugging, experiencing a life-threatening vehicle accident, or experiencing a life-threatening illness or injury.
Read the full piece at Psychology Today.