February 2012, the entire staff participated in a monthly learning event on trauma-informed care. NASMHpd.org Marty Martin, ACSW, LCSW explains that, “Children experience trauma through: substance abuse, parental separation or divorce, mental illness or suicide of a household member, violence to the mother, an imprisoned household member, abandonment, and/or a child’s basic physical and/or emotional needs are unmet. Some 60.7% of men and 51.2% of women reported experiencing at least one traumatic event. Estimates are that 50-90% of persons in mental health or substance abuse treatment have histories of severe trauma.”
Trauma can also be experienced through natural disasters, bullying, an experience of violence-physical, sexual or emotional or institutional. September 11th is a national day associated with trauma, as are the Oklahoma City bombing, Pearl Harbor and others. HHS Secretary Katherine Sebellius says, ‘Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affects 1 in 29 Americans, from our country’s service men and women to abused children and survivors of rape, domestic violence and natural disasters. During PTSD Awareness Month in June, and throughout the year, we recognize the millions of Americans who experience this challenging and debilitating condition.’
The presenter for Pomegranate’s hour-long workshop (one, among several topics over the last few months) was Tiffany T., Pomegranate’s Director of Residential Units. Tiffany presented both a refresher on what youth leaders learned in orientation, policies and procedures, the basics of trauma-informed care, and boundaries. She explained that adolescent behavior that may seem more extreme is a result of the trauma of abuse, and might manifest as fear, acting out, avoidance, flash-backs, anger, anxiety, depression, self-harm, panic reactions, nightmares and/or trouble sleeping.
Tiffany stressed that teens with mental and behavioral illness are not ‘bad kids’, but have been through a lot and are typically dealing with suppressed memories. The first principle of trauma-informed care is to ‘do no harm’, to be aware of patient/resident history and triggers to avoid re-traumatizing, to always exhibit respect and compassion.
Pomegranate’s HR Director, Michael W. explains that the ongoing training series is intended to cover topics that are beneficial to the entire staff and create a sense of ownership, greater awareness, and teamwork. For more information on trauma-informed care, visit the SAMHSA website for the National Center for Trauma-Informed Care (NCTIC) at: http://www.samhsa.gov/nctic/
The site explains that, ‘Trauma impacts one’s spirituality and relationships with self, others, communities and environment, often resulting in recurring feelings of shame, guilt, rage, isolation, and disconnection. Healing is possible.” The goal of NCTIC is “to change the paradigm from one that asks, “What’s wrong with you?” to one that asks, “What has happened to you?”” See additional SAMHSA statistics and further links for more information. The following site reports that 93% of males and 84% of females in juvenile detention reported exposure to trauma. http://t.co/Pwse8dDT #HeroesofHope
Read more about Pomegranate’s philosophy on trauma-informed care in our resident manual or see our website link at: http://www.phs-kids.com/trauma.html
You can also now download/read Pomegranate’s new brochure set which is part of the referral packet:
[Photo credit: Urban teen, ‘look on’ by Isaiahlove/Dreamstime 381608]