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How to Protect Your Mental Health From Traumatic News

In recent months, our country, city, and communities have experienced numerous disturbing tragedies. This includes mass shootings — like in our very own neighborhood of Harlem — economic struggles, and environmental disasters.

It’s only natural for traumatic news to take a toll on our mental health. That toll can be compounded by an unhealthy impulse to compulsively consume news on social media and the web. It can make us feel more depressed, anxious, or stressed.

While we may not be able to fully avoid negative feelings triggered by traumatic news, we can process them in healthy ways. If we do, we will be better able to show up for ourselves and our community. 

Here’s advice from HCZ’s Emotional Wellness team to protect your mental health from traumatic news:

  • Release: Allow yourself to express emotions, which can range from fear to sadness and even rage.
  • Check in with yourself: Ask yourself, “How am I feeling? Do I feel in control of myself and my actions? Do I understand my feelings? Am I overwhelmed?”
  • Talk it out: Speak to a mental health professional who can make space for your trauma. Take advantage of your no-cost therapy sessions through Spring Health.
  • Check in with loved ones: Create a safe space and be there for each other. Call them. Send a text. Meet up. 
  • Be mindful of what, where, and how you share: Find out how your loved ones are feeling before you share difficult feelings with them. Be mindful of their emotional state and pick the right time, and the right way, to share.
  • Limit screen time: Practice healthy boundaries around the amount of information you consume on social media and the Internet. Start your day off social media and try a healthy morning routine like meditation (using the Journey Meditation app), reading, or journal writing. Better yet, disconnect from social media for a few hours, or disconnect from your apps entirely.