Dealing with traumatic events

If you or your children need help and support to come to terms with tragic events experienced either in person or witnessed in the media, or if you’re not sure how to talk about them, this information may help.

Even seeing images of incidents on the news and social media, that we would all hope to never see in person, may make you feel particularly vulnerable.

If you have concerns you should contact your GP for support or phone the 111 service if your GP practice is closed.

If you’ve been involved in or affected by a major incident, please read the advice from Ready Scotland for adults and children on coping with trauma after a major incident.

You may also find it helpful to read our information on coping with grief.

The following organisations can provide specialist advice and support.

Breathing Space

Breathing Space is a free and confidential phone service for people in Scotland who may be feeling stressed, anxious or depressed.

Phone 0800 83 85 87 (6pm to 2am, weekdays and 24 hours at the weekend). Calls are free from landlines and mobiles.

Children 1st

Parentline is Scotland’s free helpline, email and webchat service, for anyone caring for or concerned about a child.

Phone 08000 28 22 33 free (Monday to Friday, 9am to 9pm).


The Childline website has advice on children and their worries about the world.

Lifelines Scotland

Lifelines Scotland provides help to the thousands of people across Scotland who volunteer as Community First Responders or with the mountain rescue, the RNLI or any other emergency response service.

National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC)

The NSPCC website has information on talking to children about difficult topics.

Royal College of Psychiatrists

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has more information post-traumatic stress disorder, examples of what can cause it and how it can be treated.

Young Scot

Young Scot provides guidance and advice to young people feeling worried or concerned about events currently happening around the world.

Last updated:
21 February 2023

Search for Dealing with traumatic events services