- Trauma is pervasive, particularly among individuals who receive behavioral health services. These traumatic events may include physical, sexual and institutional abuse, neglect, intergenerational trauma, or disasters. They can have a significant impact on an individual's health and life, and can lead to a sense of powerlessness, fear or hopelessness, and a constant state of alertness within an individual.1
- Trauma has been associated with a range of issues including poverty, community violence, and criminal justice involvementand contributes to very costly health related services if not addressed.3
- Trauma-informed care is an approach to engaging people that recognizes the potential presence of trauma symptoms and acknowledges the role that trauma may play in an individual’s life.2
- When a human service agency becomes trauma-informed, every part of its organization, management and service delivery system is assessed and potentially modified to include a basic understanding of how trauma affects the lives of individuals.2
- The National Center for Trauma-Informed Care states that it changes the “paradigm from one that asks, 'What's wrong with you?' to one that asks, 'What has happened to you?'”
Responding to the behavioral health care needs of all individuals in a trauma-informed manner is crucial to overall health and recovery, and therefore must be a priority and incorporated within an integrated health care system. Trauma is a pervasive issue that impacts all levels of health care and requires specialized knowledge and training, and collaboration among policymakers, providers and consumers/family members. Trauma-informed principles must be incorporated into all practices, with the ultimate goal to create trauma-free environments.
Health care professionals need to understand the effects of traumatic events on individuals in order to maximize the efficacy of behavioral and physical health care interventions. This understanding will ensure that all supports and services are provided in a manner that reflects trauma-informed principles and practices and that facilitates recovery in a person-centered manner.
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