Trauma-informed Practice: Creating a caring culture in all Public Services
The Calgary Alliance for the Common Good is a member of the Trauma Informed Care Collective which has just released this Trauma Tool Kit to assist individuals and organizations in coping with the collective trauma of the pandemic.
In addition, this organiziation of 22 agencies in Calgary continues to work towards it's long term call on the provincial government to implement trauma-informed practices across all government agencies including schools. Public service employees need to recognize the impact of trauma and how to respond appropriately. Front line workers are crucial to getting the right resources to people in need at the right time.
Trauma is often cited as the root cause of mental health issues. Trauma is any experience that causes severe emotional damage, and without proper attention leads to anxiety, depression, addictions, or even physical illness. Traumatic experiences include child abuse, emotional neglect, natural disasters, social violence, war, and sudden loss. Trauma can create negative physical, emotional, cognitive, spiritual, interpersonal and behavioral consequences. Trauma places an enormous burden on every health care and human service system and it spans generations. Regardless at what age trauma is experienced, it impacts the way we live.
Trauma-informed care seeks to ask the question “what has happened to you” versus “what is wrong with you” and then respond with dignity and compassion. It recognizing the effects of intergenerational trauma on our indigenous populations and can provide critical understanding for refugees and immigrants. It acknoweldges the link between trauma and social isolation, poverty, mental illness and other poor outcomes at an individual, community, and national level. It supports both the person that has suffered trauma as well as the person providing care and assistance.
Why Trauma Informed Care?
- A global pandemic has created universal incertainty and anxiety. A downturned economy and real threats to public and personal health have led to widespread trauma in a variety of forms.
- The prevalence of trauma within the general Alberta population is extremely high, with approximately 1/3 of individuals have experienced abuse.
- Sixteen percent of the population has experienced 4 or more adverse childhood experiences, including neglect, abuse, and household dysfunction.
A few ways you can help right now:
- Be part of creating a caring culture in Calgary by speaking out about trauma-informed practice in the workplace.
- Support our call for the government to adopt as policy that their employees become trauma informed.
- Consider learning more about trauma through one of these free resources:
Trauma Informed Care- Free online course on the AHS website with six modules aimed to increase knowledge about trauma and the impact it has by creating connection, sharing knowledge and resources. Link: https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/info/Page15526.aspx
Being Trauma Aware- Free online course for anyone in a child serving organization or who interacts in a formal role with children and youth who may have been exposed to maltreatment. Link: https://trauma.respectgroupinc.com/
Brain Story Certification- The free course provides a deeper understanding of brain development and its connection to addiction and mental health. Link: https://www.albertafamilywellness.org/training