70% of adults in the U.S. have experienced some type of traumatic event at least once in their lives, 223.4 million people. Adverse Childhood Studies show that many of these traumas occur before age 18 and result in disrupted brain development, adoption of at risk health behaviors, and increased risk for disease, disability and social problems in children and adults, including developing physical and mental illness. The Centers for Disease Control recognizes this epidemic requires a public health response at a national, state and local level. Evidence has shown that by implementing trauma informed practices within all human service systems impacting youth, adults and their families, individuals are empowered to build their resilience and enhance their overall health and well-being.
Trauma informed care asks all human service professionals to realize the widespread impact of trauma, recognize the signs and symptoms of trauma, and respond by integrating trauma informed knowledge into all policies, procedures and practices while actively resisting re-traumatizing the youth, families and adults we serve.
In response to this national public health issue, your community is working towards building trauma informed youth, family and adult service systems.
“A trauma informed [human service] system is one in which all parties involved recognize and respond to the varying impact of traumatic stress on children, adults, their caregivers, providers of service and others who have contact with the system. Programs and organizations within the system infuse this knowledge awareness and skills into their organizational cultures, policies and practices.
They act in collaboration, using the best available science to facilitate and support resiliency and recovery.” (adapted from Hendricks, Conradi, & Wilson, 2011, p.189)
One of the first steps in building trauma and resiliency informed communities, is assuring a trauma and resiliency informed educational foundation for all our human service leaders, professionals, community partners, parents, caregivers, and youth. In a trauma and resilience informed 360 approach, anyone invested in improving the well-being of our communities needs to understand the basic principles of the impact of trauma and the responsibility we all hold in building individual and community resilience.