Author: Mikki Burcher, Valeo
Many professions and organizations, including Valeo and other behavioral healthcare centers, have formally adopted a trauma-informed approach (often called trauma-informed care). But, we can also use trauma-informed practices in our day-to-day interactions with others. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), there are six key principles to trauma-informed practices. Here are some examples of how you can integrate these principles into your daily interactions with others.
• Safety. Ask permission before touching or hugging someone. Let people choose where they would like to sit during a meeting or appointment.
• Trustworthiness and transparency. If a person shares about traumatic experience, listen. Be honest about your own experiences. Hold their story in confidence; do not tell others.
• Peer support. Offer to help find a relevant support group to help process trauma. Not sure where to start? Check outhttps://supportgroupsinks.org/ or call 211 to speak to a United Way referral specialist.
• Collaboration and mutuality. Make sure everyone, especially the person who experienced trauma, has an equal voice when discussing what happened and how to move forward.
• Empowerment, voice, and choice. Validate the experiences of those who open up to you about their trauma. Encourage them to be an active participant in their treatment and healing journey.
• Cultural, historical, and gender issues. Address your own internal biases and learn about the experiences of people with identities different than yours. Be supportive of people who wish to use cultural practices as part of their coping or treatment plans.
Finding a solution to the public health crisis of childhood and general trauma will be a long and complex task, but being trauma-informed and using trauma-informed practices is one way that we can help others (and ourselves) successfully navigate trauma right now.
If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health challenges, professional help is available. Valeo’s Crisis Center is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for walk-in mental health emergencies. It is located at 400 SW Oakley Avenue. You can also call the Valeo Crisis Line, available 24 hours a day, at 785-234-3300.