More and more, I receive calls from organizations, cities, counties, and even a few state government officials about how their staff can become trauma-informed.
I am glad to know awareness is increasing regarding this critical need.
I very much appreciate how important it is for professionals who deal with trauma-impacted children and adults to understand the complexities of trauma and how to care for these individuals they encounter.
I also feel privileged to be offering comprehensive trauma-training to those same professionals who need these new skills, knowledge, and general support.
As we acknowledge the research that has exposed the increased incidences of violence in schools, a rise in mental health issues in schools, the opioids crisis and other life-dominating struggles with our students, we realize many of these issues are related to traumatic experiences.
A look at ACEs’ scores tells us the severity.
In a recent ACEs (Adverse Child Experiences) evaluations of Philadelphia residents, it was found that 37% of those questioned indicated an ACE score of 4 or more.
This is significant to their lives since correlations have been made between high ACE scores and issues like drug addiction, mental illness, poor ability to concentrate and make decisions, and violence.
Rather than label our students with other labels, perhaps a deeper understanding of what happened to them may help us better understand how to help them recover.
Although I am a huge advocate of competency for trauma-informed care and training professionals, we need to do more.
We need to use the substantial opportunities we have to make and encourage relevant, universal changes to help our systems of care become more capable, and we need to gain capacity in assisting those who exhibit the pervasive and complex nature of trauma.
What changes can we make now?
In a 2015 report, Dr. Sandra Bloom wrote these words about our own city of Philadelphia:
“Philadelphia can achieve transformational change by going back to the things we already know how to do but have forgotten. The City of Philadelphia needs to create, sustain, promote, and support an attainable vision that hearkens back to our founding principles of nonviolence and consensus.”
Bloom then refers to our city’s rich history of creating a nonviolence through policies and practices mobilized by consensus of our leadership.
Likewise, she suggested the following systems’ changes to our city leadership:
- Support trauma‐informed leadership across all city systems
- Support trauma‐informed services in the city which may not be funded by Medical Assistance
- Create a centralized office given priority at a Mayoral level
- Recombining of rights and responsibilities
- Support programming that encourages inclusion within the community for citizens that have survived trauma
So, not only do we need to provide training but leadership within our communities for trauma-informed care.
Lakeside is on the forefront of consulting and training several systems of care.
Yet, we need leaders and champions who will help within their sphere of influence to provide support, resources and services for trauma-impacted children and adults.
Only then will we be unified in both our intentions and resolve to assuage some of our most difficult societal issues.
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO, Lakeside