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SAMHSA: Trauma and “Trauma-Informed” Care

The following is a deatiled release on ‘Trauma and “Trauma-Informed” Care’ from  SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association of the USA).

The recently released Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) 57, Trauma-Informed Care in Behavioral Health Services (Trauma TIP), offers behavioral health service providers and program administrators information and practices to assist people who have experienced repeated, chronic, or multiple traumas. People who experience trauma are more likely to exhibit pronounced symptoms and consequences, including substance misuse, mental illness, and other health problems. For this reason, addressing trauma is a public health priority under the SAMHSA Trauma and Justice Strategic Initiative.

Trauma results from an event or a series of events that subsequently causes intense physical and psychological stress reactions. The individual’s functioning and emotional, physical, social, and spiritual health can be affected. Some of the most common traumatic experiences include violence, abuse, neglect, disaster, terrorism, and war. People of all ages, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, and economic conditions may experience trauma. Trauma can affect a person’s functional ability – including interacting with others, performing at work, and sleeping – and contribute to responses – including isolation, anxiety, substance misuse, and overeating or under eating – that can increase health risks. Behavioral health service providers can benefit greatly from understanding the nature and impact of trauma and the benefits of a trauma-informed approach.

Adopting trauma-informed policies may require a fundamental cultural shift within organizations intended to promote a greater sense of equality and safety. This may lead to changes in governance and leadership; organizational policy; engagement and involvement of people in recovery, trauma survivors, consumers, and family members; cross-sector collaboration; services and interventions; training and workforce development; protocols and procedures; quality assurance; budgeting and financing; evaluation; and the physical environment of the organization.