Understanding Mental Health: Impacts of Trauma

We can be traumatised by our past and it can impact us in ways we might not expect, especially in custody.


Signs you may be impacted by your past:trauma signs.png

  • difficulty controlling your emotions
  • feeling very angry and not trusting the world
  • feeling empty and hopeless
  • feeling you are permanently damaged or worthless or that you're completely different to other people
  • feeling like nobody can understand your past avoiding friendships or relationships, or finding them very difficult
  • feeling disconnected or like you 'dissociate' regular suicidal feelings


Sometimes trauma can lead to emotional flashbacks, which are intense feelings that you felt at the time of the trauma. These could be fear, shame, sadness, despair, hopelessness or helplessness. Sometimes an event you're going through now might trigger a flashback without you realising.

Ways to cope when you have a flashback:

  • Focus on your breathing and concentrate on breathing slowly in and out while counting to 5. deep breath.png
  • Carry an object that reminds you of the present like a photo.
  • Tell yourself that you are safe, repeat it over and over again if you need to.
  • Comfort yourself by curling up in your blanket, listen to music or watch something you enjoy on TV.
  • Keep a diary so you can help spot patterns of what might trigger you and this might help you notice the early warning signs. Try grounding techniques like counting objects of a particular type or colour.


You can also call the Mental Health Helpline on the phone, if you need help right away.

Call the free Mental Health Helpline (option 9 on the yard phone). Calls are confidential. Tell the mental health nurse if you need an interpreter.