Traumatic events are an almost universal experience. Developmental Trauma, violence, abuse and other adverse childhood events are often among the root causes of many of the health and social problems that challenge our society today, problems such as poverty, homelessness, violence, addictions, mental illness, poor health outcomes and many physical and chronic illnesses, poor mental health, suicide, poor academic performance and lower efficiency and productivity. The fact is that the health of our citizens, our economic productivity and the stability of many of our institution and system are being undermined by trauma. Unfortunately though in many organizations and throughout many different systems people’s trauma is seldom recognized or addressed. Organizations and systems that are not trauma informed can re-traumatize people and they can unintentionally impede recovery. Not only are a significant number of the people who are being served trauma affected, many of the people providing the service and a large percentage of our work force is trauma affected as well.
Paramount among the trauma informed principles is building relationships based on trust, safety and compassion. Trauma informed organizations place a high value on the health, wellness and safety of both those who receive and those who provide services. Trauma Informed organizations and systems support an organizational culture that builds accountability and personal responsibility, hope, resilience, meaning, purpose and empowers positive change and growth. Many organizations who may not necessarily identify themselves as trauma-informed are already working from these principles.
In 2007 the Province of Manitoba, Department of Health in partnership with Klinic Community Health Centre and the Public Health Agency of Canada sponsored a two day forum on trauma. The goal of this first forum was to develop a strategy for increasing the capacity of service providers, organizations to better respond to and meet the needs of people affected by psychological trauma.
Since 2007 much has been accomplished including the province of Manitoba establishing the Manitoba Trauma Information and Education Centre (MTIEC), the first resource centre in Canada dedicated exclusively to promoting trauma informed practices.
Over the past seven years great strides have been made in promoting and facilitating the exchange, translation and transfer of knowledge of trauma among service providers in Manitoba. Many service providers however return to work places that are not organizationally trauma informed or equipped to support their efforts to integrate and benefit from trauma informed practices. The next step then is to look at how we work together to continue efforts to support and connect trauma informed principles, practices and policies with each other and on a personal, professional organizational/systems level.
For more information on Trauma, the Manitoba Trauma Information and Education Centre visit www.trauma-informed.ca.
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