When we think about trauma we rarely think of its occurrence in rural America.
As we have traveled throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania we have found that trauma is both pervasive and prevalent in our rural counties. In fact, some of the statistics for opioid deaths, child abuse, crime, suicide and other related human struggles are rather alarming.
We were contacted by the Behavioral Health Alliance of Rural Pennsylvania over 3 years ago with a request to work with them on implementing a SAMHSA grant to provide trauma education in their 6 Tier One Counties and in the rest of the Tier Two Counties. The 23 rural counties in the north central region of Pennsylvania have worked together collaboratively to implement trauma-informed education and care to the providers, professionals and organizations that are providing a variety of services to individuals who have been impacted by trauma and/or have behavioral health issues.
Together we have designed and implemented a variety of workshops, intensive courses, conferences and train-the-trainers’ certification. We have travelled from county to county to inform organizations and leaders about the attributes of becoming trauma-informed. In fact we actually designed some workshops specifically for some of the specialized needs identified by the counties. It has been a tremendous partnership that has given us a new perspective on the needs of professionals and the clients in rural counties.
To date Lakeside Global Institute has provided 77 trauma workshops for 2,756 participants throughout the 23 counties. We also provided 40 intensive courses for 540 professionals. There are plans to continue training in the BHARP counties. What has really been encouraging is that many of the counties have secured their own grants and funding for increased training. Other counties have heard what has been happening, have asked us to present our training model and then have scheduled their own training workshops and intensive courses. At this time Lakeside has trained professionals in 43 different counties in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
It has been exciting to watch the movement in rural counties emerge and grow. We have had the opportunity to train so many great professionals who deeply care for their clients. We also have worked in systems of care to expand their trauma knowledge. Almost every week we receive calls for more training and have been privileged to serve a whole new population of professionals.
Even in rural America there is a significant need for trauma-informed education and care for those who have experienced trauma and other adversities in their lives. We have deeply appreciated the impact of BHARP staff. We recognize that this process has launched a rural movement in Pennsylvania that is supporting professionals who are dealing with some of our most difficult social problems. It has been a deeply gratifying process with lots of great feedback and impact for all of us.