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Trauma and Youth


Helpful Information for Parents and Students following a Traumatic Event

Youth and Trauma

Traumatic events are situations that may be sudden or unexpected, involve a shocking nature of events, and produce feelings of horror, terror, or helplessness.[1]  Some examples of traumatic events may include:

  • Physical, sexual or emotional abuse
  • Neglect
  • Witnessing or being the direct victim of interpersonal violence (domestic, dating violence)
  • Witnessing or being the direct victim of community violence (gang violence, riots, school shootings)
  • Severe motor vehicle and other accidents
  • Medical trauma including severe injury or life threatening illness
  • Natural and human-made disasters
  • Sudden death of a loved one or peer
  • Exposure to war, terrorism or refugee conditions. [2]


Research has shown that adolescents who encounter a traumatic event may experience social, emotional and even academic consequences as a result of the traumatic event. Adolescents experiencing a traumatic may be more prone to engage in risky behaviors, less likely to make realistic evaluations of danger and safety, and may experience symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). [3]  Children and youth may demonstrate one or many of the following post traumatic responses:

  • Anxiety and/or Anger
  • Suicidal Thoughts or Feelings
  • Depression
  • Substance Abuse
  • Fear
  • Frequent mood changes
  • Truancy
  • Fighting
  • Impaired concentration and problem solving abilities
  • Withdrawal from relationships
  • Difficulty communicating
  • Poor school performance


Safe2Tell Colorado Can Help

The goal of Safe2Tell Colorado is to intervene at the earliest possible point in the life a young person who is struggling, helping them when they need it before the situation turns into a tragedy. Safe2Tell Colorado serves as the statewide bystander reporting tool for concerns in Colorado. The Safe2Tell solution was developed specifically to encourage those with information about a possible event or dangerous situation to report it in a way that keeps the reporter safe from retaliation or fear.

If you witness a child or youth who has experienced a traumatic event and is engaging in risky or harmful behavior, you can make an anonymous Safe2Tell Colorado report alerting a team of caring committed adults of the situation. Safe2Tell Colorado reports create interventions for youth and children who are struggling and provides the accountability and follow-up required to ensure action is taken on every concerned received.

To make a safe, anonymous report to Safe2Tell Colorado:

Call 1-877-542-7233 

Download the mobile app and make a report from your smartphone

Submit a report online





Additional Resources:

If YOU are struggling and need someone to talk to, you can call the statewide Colorado Crisis and Support Line at 844-493-TALK (8255).

Additional information on how to assist youth struggling after a traumatic event, action plans and area specific resources and information:



1 Cohen, Mannarino, and Deblinger, Treating Trauma and Traumatic Grief in Children and Adolescents, The Guilford Press, 2006, p.3,

2 National Child Traumatic Stress Network: Understanding Traumatic Street in Adolescents: A Primer for Substance Abuse Professionals, June 2008, p. 1

National Child Traumatic Stress Network: Understanding Traumatic Street in Adolescents: A Primer for Substance Abuse Professionals, June 2008, p. 4

Disclaimer: Safe2Tell Colorado does not accept requests for links or resource inclusions. Safe2Tell Colorado and the Colorado Department of Law provide resource and publication links to external websites because of their usefulness in creating safer schools and communities as an educational, informational basis to Safe2Tell users, schools, law enforcement and the general public. All attempts to keep information linked on this site are made on a regular basis. However, Safe2Tell Colorado and the Colorado Department of Law cannot be responsible for the content of any site external to its own. Further, by providing links to external sites, Safe2Tell Colorado and the Colorado Department of Law is not endorsing any particular product, practice, service, provider or institution, nor does it necessarily endorse views expressed or facts presented on these sites. In addition, neither Safe2Tell Colorado/Colorado Department of Law nor any of its employees, makes any warranty, expressed or implied, or assumes any legal liability for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information linked to from this site.