Participating in jury duty can be a stressful experience (National Center for State Courts, 1998). The impact of being a juror may not end when you go home. It is common to experience certain reactions following a stressful event, and there are ways to receive help if you need additional support.
It’s normal to experience some of the following symptoms after a stressful or traumatic event (National Center for PTSD, 2015):
- Trouble sleeping
- Trouble concentrating
- Feeling sad, upset, or anxious
- Feeling irritable or angry
- Upset stomach
- Drinking or eating more than usual
For more information about common responses to traumatic events, please visit the National Center for PTSD at ptsd.va.gov.
Many people find that when they get active and seek out support from others they recover from the stress of an upsetting event. Some of the following suggestions from the National Center for PTSD (2015) may be helpful:
- Talking with friends and family
- Relaxation/breathing exercises
- Participate in fun/enjoyable activities
You may experience stress for a short time following your service. Research shows that for most people who have experienced stressful events, these feelings will get better as time passes. But if not, we are here to help.
It may be time to seek additional support if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Your stress has made it difficult or impossible to carry out your day-to-day tasks
- You are having thoughts of hurting yourself or someone else
- Your stress or distress, while not extreme, is not getting better over time
Find a treatment provider who has experience working with people who have had traumatic experiences. Providers who say they use “evidence-based” or “empirically-based” approaches to therapy (other buzz words might include Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), or Exposure-Based Therapy) use the scientific knowledge to inform the work they do with clients. This means there’s evidence that the interventions they do with clients work to fix problems!
There are several ways to find a provider who can help you address your concerns.
Drexel Psychological Services Center
The Drexel Psychological Services Center (PSC) has developed the Juror Support Program (JSP), a program specifically for jurors who experience distress following their service. The JSP consists of an initial evaluation and up to 6 free sessions utilizing interventions that all have a scientific basis for addressing stress reactions.
If you are interested in the JSP, there is no need to wait to begin the intake process. Dedicated time slots are available by calling 215.553.7128.
Learn more about the Drexel Psychological Services Center
Employee Assistance Programs
For individuals who served on a jury in the United State District Court for the Eastern Circuit of Pennsylvania, one way is through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). This program will cover a limited number of sessions to work with a professional specifically about the trauma of serving on the jury. To find out more information about this option, refer to the packet provided by the Court.
Psychotherapy in Your Community
A third option is psychotherapy that is offered in the community, in which issues in addition to jury trauma can be addressed, such as anxiety and depression. Payment for these services can vary; some providers offer services on a sliding scale fee, some take private pay, and others may be covered through your insurance. You will want to identify the provider that is the best fit for your mental health needs, your payment plan, and convenience from your home or work.