Over the past decade we’ve seen new approaches in the understanding and treatment of mental illness. Among the most effective of these is trauma-informed care. We’re proud to say that the Kansas City area has emerged as a national leader in this approach.
Trauma-informed care is grounded in the knowledge that traumatic events or situations often produce lasting physical, emotional and behavioral effects. This understanding continues to change the way we interact with children and families and how we think about the way we do our work.
Understanding trauma blog posts:
A 1998 study (Adverse Childhood Experiences, Dr. Vincent Filetti) showed that adults who experienced traumatic events as children are at greater risk for illness and premature death, with higher reported incidences of obesity, addiction, depression and suicide attempts, ischemic heart disease, cancer and liver disease.
As a result, expanding community awareness about the toll trauma takes has become a priority in the Kansas City mental health community.
Trauma Matters KC, created by the Metropolitan Mental Health Stakeholders group, is a coalition of more than 30 social service agencies, behavioral health centers, philanthropies, institutions and individual providers from across the metropolitan area working to increase awareness about trauma-focused care.
Similarly, the Trauma-Informed Care Task Force of Johnson County was launched in 2012 with a grant from HCF to create and support a more trauma-informed community.
We’re also zeroing in on the problem of trauma at life’s earliest stages. A pioneering local initiative known as Head Start Trauma Smart — created by Kansas City’s Crittenton Children’s Center and supported by HCF — focuses on childhood trauma intervention.
An unexpected, but welcome side effect of trauma-informed care is greater awareness of the “secondhand trauma” routinely experienced by caregivers and other professionals in the mental health field.
The Secondary Trauma Resources Center was created to help alleviate this serious but frequently overlooked problem. In addition, many local mental health care agencies are adopting the Sanctuary organization model, which helps staff improve job satisfaction, reduce burnout and provide optimal care to clients.
Recognizing and understanding trauma is the first step in treating it, whether it’s a child who had an adverse experience or an adult who’s trying to cope. Helping people of all ages, their families, communities and the health care providers around them better understand the impact of trauma enriches everyone’s lives. And this is why we help fund programs that provide the tools needed to move forward.
This blog post is part of A Healthy 10.