Difficult or Traumatic Experiences

Tips by Theme or Topic

email link Download / print

  • Mental health can be impacted by difficult life experiences like breakups or relationship struggles, significant transitions (like going away to college or having kids), loss, mistreatment, or trauma. How much these experiences impact our overall mental health depends on the severity of the event and on our state of mind at the time we’re experiencing them.
  • Entertainment media can help viewers understand that it’s normal to struggle in the wake of difficult or traumatic experiences and can also illuminate when it’s important to take action to support our mental health. 
  • Some viewers may think that visiting a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist is only for people with a mental health condition or a history of problems. In reality, mental health professionals can help anyone navigate difficult periods in their lives — whether those difficult periods stem from everyday challenges or trauma. 
  • Friends and family can also play a powerful role by recognizing the warning signs of emotional challenges resulting from difficult experiences or trauma. These could include changes in behavior, social isolation, not enjoying things one used to enjoy, inability to perform usual work or household tasks, increased use of drugs or alcohol, apathy, or concerning levels of sadness, anxiety, or anger.
  • For storylines involving a traumatic event such as a serious accident, near death experience, sexual assault, or accumulation of abuse or discrimination, get started by reading the section on representing trauma in entertainment media.

email link Download / print

more in part 6