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Trauma results from an event or circumstance someone experiences as physically or emotionally life-threatening.

If you are at imminent risk for self-harm please go to the Madison Memorial Emergency Room. For individuals who are at risk for harming themselves or are having a similar significant crisis, please dial 988 to access the Idaho Careline and be prepared to select Option 3. For students who are actively meeting with a BYU-Idaho counselor and are at risk for harming themselves or having a similar significant crisis, please call 208-496-HELP (208-398-4357).


Students around campus on the first day of the fall 2021 semester at BYU-Idaho.

Trauma is the result of an event or circumstance that the individual experiences as physically or emotionally harmful or life-threatening. The event may adversely affect the individual’s functioning and well-being at multiple levels, including mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual. The experience may overwhelm the individual’s ability to cope effectively. It may result in feelings of helplessness, a diminished sense of self, and a decreased ability to feel the full range of emotions and experiences.

Trauma events can range from “Big T”—for example, combat trauma or childhood abuse—to “Little t”—such as distressing relationship occurrences that interfere with our ability to cope. Big T traumas are usually easy to identify as such, but Little t traumas are often more difficult to identify. Sometimes victims of psychological and emotional trauma do not recognize that what they have experienced is actually trauma. Simply speaking, any experience that you have difficulty letting go of may be considered to be a trauma.

Some individuals who experience trauma develop symptoms of PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder), including intrusive reminders of the event, avoidance of things associated with the event, negative changes in mood or thoughts, and alterations in behavior. Sometimes, especially with childhood trauma, the trauma victim does not experience trauma symptoms until years later. Some trauma victims immediately experience trauma symptoms. In some cases, the individual who has experienced the trauma is able to work through the trauma without any kind of professional help, but other persons may need help to overcome the effects of the trauma.

Additional Information

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TAO (Therapy Assistance Online)
Mindfulness Library

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