The siege of the Capitol was a harrowing experience for those who serve the institution of Congress. On top of the normal stressors of the job, the added stress of having your life put at risk is deeply traumatic and lasting. It is completely expected and healthy for staff to have stress and trauma symptoms.
Know the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Knowing symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is the first step toward making sure that you get the mental health support you need. Here are some common short- to long-term symptoms to be on the watch for, from the National Institute of Mental Health:
Worrying a lot or feeling very anxious, sad, or fearful
Having trouble thinking clearly
Having frightening thoughts or flashbacks, reliving the experience
Feeling angry, resentful, or irritable
Having nightmares or difficulty sleeping
Avoiding places or people that bring back disturbing memories and responses.
Becoming isolated from family and friends
For more information on symptoms and seeking support after a traumatic event, please see NIMH’s page here.
Please know that normal work in a congressional office is oftentimes extremely stressful. If you weren’t directly involved with the January 6 events but are feeling these symptoms, please know that it’s okay: your feelings are valid, and you are as deserving of help as anyone else.
Finally, we know firsthand that it can be difficult to ascertain where and how to raise staff concerns on the Hill and in the districts, so if you want to share your experience of the January 6 events, please feel free to use this anonymous form.
For supporters of CapitolStrong and the Capitol Hill community, here are some ways to get involved:
Share your message of support on social media using #CapitolStrong.
If you’re a former staffer, write a note for current staff to show your support here.
You’re not alone
Thousands of people in the #CapitolStrong community are here to offer support.