The British Firework Championship is scheduled for this week from 9.30pm on Wednesday, 18 and Thursday, 19 August, and will be dedicated to those who lost their lives in Keyham. It will involve three 10 minute long firework displays on each evening, with the competition likely to finish by 11pm. You can find out more about the event on Plymouth City Council’s website here.
The fireworks may or may not trigger a trauma response in those involved in or affected by the shooting in Keyham. A natural response after exposure to trauma is a panic reaction to sudden noises. Cars with modified exhausts may also be a trigger. Feeling numbed, shocked and disoriented, with intrusive thoughts and dreams of the event are normal reactions to abnormal and traumatic experiences.
The Trauma Involved Plymouth Network have provided some advice and guidance that we would like to share with you.
What can be helpful
- Self-soothing techniques
- Have access to things that are warm and comforting. It can help to think about your 5 senses i.e. something you enjoy listening to, something sweet to eat or a warm drink, wrapping up in something soft, scented candles, etc.
- Rhythm can be comforting – move around, play music, use fidget spinners, rock from side to side (try to avoid rocking backwards and forwards)
- Focus on your breathing and try to make the out-breath longer than the in-breath
- Try to notice and soften tension in your face and body
- Make plans to watch a TV program, series or film you enjoy
- Plan to do a distracting or mindful activity like art, craft, mindful colouring, puzzles or board games
- Reach out to people who provide you comfort and support; is there someone you can call or ask to keep you company?
- Consider using ear plugs or earphones during the firework competition
- You may find comforting your pets is comforting for you
- Limit exposure to the media including social media. Distressing images and disclosures can trigger trauma responses.
- Reach out for immediate support.
- Victim Support offer 24/7 support on 08081 689111
- Or chat to them via live webchat at https://www.victimsupport.org.uk/help-and-support/get-help/support-near-you/live-chat/
- My Support Space is an online resource designed by the independent charity Victim Support with a great section on resources and suggestions for those who are supporting someone affected by harm https://www.mysupportspace.org.uk/moj
- Samaritans 116 123 free from any phone
- Online advice on processing death and anxiety is available through childline.org.uk as well as further support for parents via www.nspcc.org.uk.
- Childline – 0800 1111
- NSPCC Helpline – 0808 800 5000
If you are supporting someone affected by the recent community trauma
You might be worried about someone who is affected and might not know what to do best to help. These are some top tips:
- Listen without offering solutions
- Do things that are comforting for them
- Make sure they have their basic needs met such as food, shelter and warmth
- Don’t expect them to know what they need – just gently try some things together
- Can they leave the area in advance and come to your house?
- Could you go out and do something nice together – a meal or watch a film.
- Every interaction has the potential to be helpful if done with kindness and compassion. Always remember that people might be reacting from a place of trauma.