SOUTH TEXAS HEALTH SYSTEM MCALLEN CONTINUES PROVIDING SUPPORT FOR THOSE INVOLVED IN TRAUMATIC EVENTS AND THEIR CAREGIVERS THROUGH ITS TRAUMA SURVIVORS NETWORK PROGRAM 

Offered in partnership with the American Trauma Society, the support group remains the only support group of its kind south of San Antonio

It’s a surprising statistic: 70% of adults in the U.S. have experienced some type of traumatic event at least once in their lives, according to the National Council for Behavioral Health. Trauma can stem from violence, natural disasters, medical interventions, abuse and more. Even a minor vehicle accident can lead to psychological distress and lingering trauma.

While obtaining critical medical treatment and physical rehabilitation for the physical wounds of a traumatic injury are essential for the physical functioning of the individual, it’s also important to focus on the psychosocial health of the patient and their loved ones. 

Individuals who have suffered a mild traumatic brain injury — which can result from falls, vehicle collisions, sports injuries and more — have an increased risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other major depressive disorders, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Emotional and psychological trauma is an emotional response to a distressing event or situation that breaks your sense of security. Traumatic experiences often involve a direct threat to life or safety, but anything that leaves you feeling overwhelmed or isolated can result in trauma. While it’s common for most people to deal with fear and anxiety during and immediately after a traumatic event, each person’s emotional response is unique. Some will naturally recover with time, while others may continue to experience symptoms of PTSD, such as guilt, anger, sadness, shame and grief.

For Valley residents who have experienced a traumatic event, support is available locally. In December 2021, South Texas Health System McAllen joined forces with the American Trauma Society to bring the first Trauma Survivors Network Support Group to the Rio Grande Valley to help support the comprehensive process of recovery of trauma survivors.

In addition to gaining support and hope from others facing similar experiences, the support group also helps trauma survivors and their families rebuild their lives and regain their overall confidence by learning new skills for coping and enhancing one’s life. Each session features a different topic of exploration for the entire group, with the participation of guest speakers to offer additional education and support. 

“Trauma survivors and their family members may face continuing feelings of anger, depression or guilt, as well as financial upheaval and social isolation. That’s why it’s important to offer them an opportunity to connect with other survivors and let them know they’re not alone,” says Veronica Silva, the Injury Prevention Coordinator at South Texas Health System McAllen. “Our Level I Trauma Center supports our patients and their family members through all phases of recovery, even after the patient is discharged from the hospital. And our Trauma Survivors Network Support Group helps individuals feel empowered and offers a platform for them to share their story, which may positively impact others that may be going through a similar situation.”

Led by a trauma survivor and a health professional involved in trauma patient care, the meetings are held the first Saturday of every month in the first-floor conference room at the South Texas Health System Heart Clinic at 500 E. Ridge Rd., McAllen, TX 78503. Referrals to mental health and substance abuse services may be provided if needed.

The next session is set for February 4. For more information and to register, visit the STHS McAllen | TSN web page or contact Veronica Silva at (956) 632-4929 or [email protected].

About South Texas Health System

South Texas Health System is a multi-facility healthcare system serving patients throughout the Rio Grande Valley. The system includes four acute care facility campuses with specialties in pediatrics, heart and vascular services, maternity and women’s health and trauma services. Inpatient and outpatient treatment for behavioral health needs and addictive disorders is also provided through the system's South Texas Health System Behavioral facility. South Texas Health System is affiliated with the South Texas Clinical Partners ACO, Prominence Health Plan, and Cornerstone Regional Hospital. The system operates an advanced Level I Trauma Center at South Texas Health System McAllen, the first and only freestanding children’s facility and pediatric ER at South Texas Health System Children’s, the region’s only freestanding heart hospital and specialized cardiac ER at South Texas Health System Heart, and six freestanding emergency rooms located in and around Weslaco, Mission, Edinburg, McAllen and Alamo. For more information about the system and its comprehensive services, please visit www.southtexashealthsystem.com.