Let's understand Trauma together!



What is Trauma?

The trauma event, the experience of trauma, and the effects of trauma.



Understanding ACEs

What are adverse childhood experiences and how they affect adult health.



Prevalence of Trauma

Singapore Mental Health Study on trauma prevalence among children.

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What is Trauma?

Individual trauma results from an event, series of events, or set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful, which might result in long-term reduced productivity and poorer well-being.

SAMHSA, 2014

The Three E’s In Trauma


Events and/or circumstances cause trauma.


An individual’s experience of the event determines whether it is traumatic.


Effects of trauma include adverse physical, social, emotional, or spiritual consequences.

Trauma can Stem from

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Grief & Loss


Witnessing or knowing a loved one who died by suicide, accidents or under ambiguous circumstances such as an aircraft accident where bodies could not be recovered, can be a traumatic experience. It becomes difficult to move on when the death is sudden and there is no explanation for the loss. Other examples of grief and loss may also include the death of a pet, the loss of cherished objects, relationships or not being able to pursue a dream, hope, aspiration or opportunity.


Medical Interventions

A person who undergoes a medical procedure can experience trauma when it results in a permanent loss. For example, an amputation may lead to the patient feeling a sense of loss, unsettled and terrified. Other examples include difficult childbirth, heart attacks, diagnosis of a serious health condition and hospitalisation or intensive care unit stays.

War & Terrorism


This Includes being exposed to war zones and witnessing death and violence on a regular basis, but can also apply when somebody has gone through national service training that is especially torturous or discriminatory. Witnessing terrorist attacks live or through the media can also inflict trauma.


Childhood Abuse & Neglect

Neglect is the absence of care towards the child, as though they are invisible and unimportant. A physical neglect means not taking care of a child’s basic needs like food, clothing, shelter and hygiene. An emotional neglect means not loving or being warm to the child, ignoring and disregarding him or her.


Prolonged physical and emotional neglect can result in poor mental health.

Physical, Emotional or Sexual Abuse

An abuse is an action that makes a child feel unsafe. Non-accidental and intentional act of causing injury or bodily harm (e.g. excessive corporal punishment) is physical abuse while harsh criticisms can be emotionally abusive. Sexual abuse comprises inappropriate contact or interactions with a child. These forms of traumatic experiences may cause the child to feel extreme helplessness. The child may talk about his or her body as being “hurt” or “dirty”.


Accidents & Natural Disasters

Physical and emotional injury can immediately result from accidents caused by a car crash or bad fall, or by natural disasters such as landslides and flooding. Such events can cause mass trauma and permanent disability for survivors, as well as feelings of shock, grief and loss.


Witnessing acts of violence

Witnessing or exposure to tragedy or acts of violence can be a form of trauma. Some tragedies are unintentional and unpredictable. Others are intentional and premeditated such as homicide, rape, suicide, seeing someone being treated violently. 

Getting help

What does trauma looks like?