Witness Support

Witnessing or being involved in the sudden death of a child or young adult can be very upsetting and extremely traumatic. The effect it will have on a person is unique, so please remember that there is no right or wrong way to react.

What happens immediately after a trauma?
Immediately after a traumatic event, it is common for people to feel shocked, numb, or unable to accept what has happened.

You may also feel cut off from your feelings, or from what is going on around you.

You may also go through a period of denial, where you can’t accept that it has happened, so you behave as though it hasn’t.

What happens next?
People react differently and take different amounts of time to come to terms with what has happened. Even so, you may be surprised by the strength of your feelings. It is normal to experience a mix of feelings.

You may feel:

  • Frightened
  • Angry
  • Sad
  • Ashamed or embarrassed

What else might I notice?
Strong feelings affect your physical health. In the weeks after a trauma, you may find that you:

  • Cannot sleep
  • Feel very tired
  • Dream a lot and have nightmares
  • Have poor concentration
  • Have memory problems
  • Have difficulty thinking clearly
  • Suffer from headaches
  • Experience changes in appetite
  • Have aches and pains
  • Feel that your heart is beating faster

What should I do?

  • Give yourself time
  • Find out what happened
  • Ask for support
  • Take some time for yourself
  • Talk it over
  • Get into a routine
  • Do some ‘normal’ things with other people
  • Take care of yourself

What should I NOT do?

  • Don’t bottle up your feelings
  • Don’t take on too much
  • Don’t drink or use drugs
  • Don’t make any major life changes

2wish can provide support for witnesses or individuals that have been involved with the sudden death of a child or young person under the age of 25.

We can offer support in several ways, all of which are confidential and arranged by 2wish.