Car accidents can be traumatic – even minor bumper bashing can affect your emotions in a negative way. It can even be difficult to fully understand the depth of your emotional trauma following a car accident, and once the initial impact has cleared from memory it’s important to seek help if you’re still struggling with the aftermath of the accident.
Here are some of the emotions you could expect to feel following a car accident
Shock or denial
Often people feel shock immediately after an accident. Common symptoms of shock include feeling numb, emotional distress, feeling afraid or experiencing unpredictable mood swings. Shock is different for everyone.
Anger or irritability
Whether you’re at fault – or not at fault – some people can feel anger at the other driver involved. Many passengers can also experience this anger or irritability. It’s important to recognise this anger or irritability and to not take it out on others around you. These feelings are a valid response to the trauma experienced, but it’s important to not act on them.
Guilt or shame
Car accidents can come out of nowhere, and many feel guilt or shame following an accident. It’s important to not beat yourself up after an accident – accidents happen.
Anxiety, worry or fear
Anxiety is one of our natural reactions to stress. Feeling anxious after an accident can be a normal and common response, with some people feeling many symptoms while others have none at all.
In Australia, we have organisations dedicated to helping. Please reach out if you feel you need help.
- Lifeline: Phone 24/7 helpline on 13 11 14 or chat online.
- Australian Psychological Society: Find a psychologist in your area or phone the Referral Service on 1800 333 497. Your local GP can give you a referral for free counselling through Medicare. There are even organisations of counsellors for particular faith backgrounds, e.g. the Christian Counsellors Association of Australia.
- Beyond Blue: Phone 1300 22 4636.
- SANE Australia: Phone 1800 18 7263 to chat with a mental health professional on weekdays, 9am-5pm.
- ReachOut Australia: Download their Toolbox of mental health self-help apps.
- Headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation: There are Headspace centres all over Australia for you to talk in person – or you can chat online or phone 1800 650 890.
- National Centre for PTSD: For more information and help finding mental health professionals who specialise in PTSD.
Need help after a car accident? We’ll help you
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