Two people can be involved in the exact same traumatic event but each person will have their own personal experience of the event. Your experience of the event can be impacted by factors such as:

  • Relationships and connections in your personal life and community who are able to support and encourage you
  • Your own personal resilience (resilience is the ability to cope with trauma using your own mental and emotional strategies)
  • Resources such as money or time


Person A and Person B were both involved in the same shop robbery. They were in a small convenience store when they were both taken hostage at knife point until the police attended the event and deescalated it after 2 hours. This was their experience after the event:

Person A phones up their work after the robbery and explains what has happened to them. They have been in their managerial role for over five years and their line manager recommends attending counselling that the organisation will pay for and suggests that they take paid time off and return to work on a phased basis with a full salary.

Person A has a very supportive family and they are able to suggest wellness books and accompany them to an eight week yoga and meditation course at a private centre close to where they live.

Through the counselling support that Person A is receiving, it is encouraged that they attend a victim support group in their community where they are able to meet and speak to other people about similar experiences and methods of support and coping.

Person A has started leaving the house by themselves again after being supported by friends and family members for the past few months.

Person B has been in and out of hospitality work their whole life due to the care responsibilities they have for their mother. They have been in their role for less than 3 months and do not want to bother their boss with personal business.

Person B's boss notices that they are becoming withdrawn, have been late for several shifts and are not interacting well with customers. They speak to them about these incidents and put Person B on a disciplinary warning due to their defensive attitude.

Person B has not spoken to anyone about the incident, and does not want to burden their mother who is physically disabled and needs 24 hour care.

They are finding it hard to go into shops to purchase essentials and be in areas with crowds of people as it is increasing their anxiety and stress levels.

They do not have a supportive social group as they spend the majority of their time looking after their mother, working or seeking employment.


This Type 1 trauma event was the same for Person A and Person B, however their experience of the event was completely different.

The experience of a traumatic event, or events, then leads to effects. Traumatic events can have long lasting effects on someone’s functioning and their mental, physical, social, or emotional wellbeing.

Effects after a traumatic event are unique and personal to each individual. If someone was in a car crash, for example, they may find it difficult to be in a vehicle again, or they may be hypervigilant whenever danger is perceived – such as a loud noise or an alarm sounding.

It is important to understand and remember that traumatic events affect us all differently. We never know what has happened to someone on their journey for them to arrive where they are now.