female holding head in her hands

Understand the impact of secondary trauma—and how you can address it

Faculty from the Mandel School’s Center on Trauma and Adversity to host discussion for campus community on secondary and vicarious trauma

When a traumatic event occurs, the victims and witnesses are likely to experience some sort of emotional duress. And while ensuring they get the support they need is critical, they aren’t the only ones who may need assistance. Sometimes, when an individual hears about or sees media reports of the trauma experiences of another, they can be affected by vicarious and secondary trauma.

These experiences can give rise to significant emotional and behavioral problems that can disrupt the individual’s daily living functioning, reduce their sense of safety, and may include symptoms such as exhaustion, feeling overwhelmed, isolated and disconnected.

Faculty experts from the university’s Center on Trauma and Adversity will host a discussion, “You Don’t Have to Be at a Traumatic Event to Be Affected by It,” Wednesday, Nov. 14, from noon to 1 p.m. in the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Community Studies Center, Room 108. All students, faculty and staff are invited to attend. RSVPs are encouraged through CampusGroups.

The faculty affiliates from the center, part of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, will discuss:

  • What vicarious and secondary trauma are;
  • Signs and symptoms you may experience with vicarious and secondary trauma; and
  • How to address vicarious and secondary trauma through self-care practices.

A group of faculty members with expertise in trauma and clinical social work launched the Center on Trauma and Adversity in the spring, with the goal of reducing the impacts of trauma, responding to adversity and promoting resilience, according to the center’s founding director Megan R. Holmes.

The center was created to respond to the need for trauma-focused research and the development of trained social workers who can effectively assess, intervene, and treat people and communities affected by trauma—to help them experience healing, overcome adversity, reduce suffering, and achieve recovery and resilience.

Their discussion on Wednesday aims to help members of the campus community understand how they can recognize and cope with secondary and vicarious trauma.

RSVP to the event on CampusGroups.