Your first heartbreak, accident, loss of a loved-one or being chased by a dog – these and so many other incidents can be lasting traumatic experiences, and mental-health practitioners are working to shift the way traumas of the past are being addressed today.
Trauma-informed care is growing effort around the country to shift the mindset and understanding that humans are deeply affected by their past. Studies show more people are dealing with something traumatic without society acknowledging it.
Yuki Reese knows this all too well, as the director of school-based services for ViewPoint Health – a public mental-health organization serving several Georgia counties. Reese said they’ve adjusted the way they speak to clients or families to avoid exacerbating the problem.
“So, you might be saying, ‘What’s wrong with you?'” said Reese, “when what you really want to say to the person is, ‘What happened to you? What did you experience that might be causing you to react in this way?'”
Reese said it’s important to uncover the causes of traumatic situations that may be contributing to anxiety or depressive disorders, addictions or abuse. It’s only then you can more accurately treat the source of the problem.
There are currently two bills in Congress that would make these types of practices a requirement. However, some critics worry about the impact of labeling young people by their trauma, and that the practice should be more culturally responsive.
It’s estimated that one in four children experiences child abuse or neglect in their lifetime, according to a study in the National Library of Medicine.
Reese said their approach is to find out what’s going on in a person’s life with more carefully crafted questions.
“All kind of things could happen many, many years ago and the person might be just fine for these years,” said Reese, “but then something happens recently or you might be responding to the trauma that you experienced years ago without really knowing. “
In order for it to work, however, it depends on the person to be transparent with their past. The Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practices is a national movement to help communities adapt and shift to trauma-informed care.
This story was written by Trimmel Gomes, a producer at Public News Service, where this story first appeared.