Care New England recently partnered with the Rhode Island Department of Health to increase awareness about choosing antibiotics wisely, including how to know when taking an antibiotic can help and when it doesn't.
No matter what your beliefs, the daily headlines and ongoing public discourse around sexual assault may trigger some memories or even trauma in sexual assault survivors.
Whether you have experienced trauma yourself or want to help a friend but just don’t know how, we at Butler, Kent, and Women & Infants hospitals and The Providence Center want you to know we understand, and we are here to help. You are not alone.
If you have experienced sexual assault, you may notice some things in yourself that you could easily overlook or write off as having a “bad day.” These may include:
- Feeling easily irritated or overwhelmed
- Increased tearfulness
- Urges to isolate
- Substance abuse/increased urges to use
- Poor concentration
There are ways to help yourself feel better.
- Creativity can be really helpful—find outlets to draw, sing, dance, or exercise.
- Try mindfulness and meditation.
- Prioritize proper nutrition, hydration, and sleep.
- Reach out to friends or family—not necessarily to talk about trauma, but to be around people who support you (even if you don’t feel like you deserve it).
- Engage in distraction techniques—movies, TV, cooking—anything that is multisensory and helps you stay in the present moment.
- Helping others often helps us—volunteer, talk to someone else about their issues.
If none of these work, or if you continue to feel worse, you may want to contact your own health care provider or consider therapy. The Care New England Behavioral Health Services Call Center is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week – call 1 (844) 401-0111.
Perhaps you are worried about a friend, colleague, or family member. Be on the lookout for:
- Increased sexual promiscuity (it seems counterintuitive, but high risk sexual behavior is often seen in victims of sexual violence FOLLOWING abuse)
- Any major change in affect or attitude (ie: someone suddenly becomes extremely bright and cheery when normally they might appear lower energy, or vice versa)
You can help. Here are a few tips to help you help someone else.
- Be open, honest, and present.
- Avoid words like “victim,” rather use words like “survivor.”
- Remind others that violence that is perpetrated upon them is never their fault.
- Don’t try to force someone to talk to you, but let them know that you are available.
- Acknowledge how much courage it takes to share their experiences.
- Acknowledge how much stands in the way of a survivor sharing his or her experiences (shame, fear of judgement, fear of retribution, self-blame, poor responses from professionals, low levels of appropriate response from legal officials).
- Use proper terminology, and call things what they are.
- Provide them with resources if you have any available (like any of the websites or books mentioned here).
- Be willing to talk about things other than the assault or violence—talking about trauma does not always help trauma, and sometimes providing distraction from distress is the best thing you can do as a supporter.
Learn more about other local resources that can help, too.
Thank you to Melissa Meyer, LMHC ATR, program therapist at Butler Hospital, for providing this information.