FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

MRBN is excited to expand its work around trauma-informed care and look forward to connecting with many of you around this important practice. To introduce MRBN’s enhanced work in this area, MRBN Resiliency Strategy Director is answering a few questions about how this work can be meaningful to your organization and her experiences with successful implementation of trauma-informed programming. For more information, please contact  training@maineresilience.org.

Q. What brought you to trauma-informed work?

  1. I’ve been a clinical social worker for over 15 years, primarily in a health care setting, working with interpersonal and sexual violence survivors. Working within the system, I saw the impact - both positive and negative - that various systems could have on individuals. There were some wonderful instances of where survivors really felt seen, heard, and understood and it helped significantly with their healing and recovery. Unfortunately, there were times when either the health care or other systems didn’t respond well to a survivor and that compounded their trauma and was a real barrier in healing. Sometimes, it meant that someone stopped engaging in services or became another point of adversity. My work eventually shifted to working with teams on shifting individual and collective practice and culture to increase those more positive outcomes. I firmly believe that we all have the collective wisdom to make our systems trauma-informed and that what we often need is the framing and understanding of the issues to help get us started.

 

Q. What’s the biggest opportunity in trauma-informed practice right now?

  1. I’m grateful for the leaders who have really embraced this change and want to shift systemically. I’ve seen a lot of individuals- nurses, providers, advocates, educators, public health folks - and others - shift their individual work and there is greater leadership buy-in now than I’ve seen in the past. In my short time at MRBN, I’ve heard some really wonderful stories about organizations turning inward and assessing their own practices. I think there is a lot of opportunity to work with boards and management teams to institute this shift in perspective in a meaningful and sustainable way.

 

Q. Who do you think should be working on becoming trauma-informed?

  1. Everyone! We know that trauma directly impacts 60-70% of the population in the United States. If we take one step back, we also know that someone we live with, work with, go to school with, or know in our community is certainly affected. In reality, it’s an issue we all need to be thoughtful about either for ourselves or someone we know. We also know that Maine is facing an ongoing opioid crisis and we’re continuing to lose individuals in record numbers. Some amazing work is being done across the state but the numbers continue to go up. Youth are also facing a mental health crisis here and we need our individuals and systems to be prepared for the ongoing needs of trauma survivors.  Trauma-informed care allows us to shift our perspective and lens so that we can deliver good, effective care that may allow more and more people to feel comfortable accessing services and sustaining care.

 

Q. What else do you think people should know about trauma-informed care?

  1. A critical component of providing trauma-informed care is caring for the caregiver. We can’t be our best professional selves if we are also dealing with unaddressed vicarious trauma or symptoms of burnout. Personal, professional, and organizational strategies must be built into trauma-informed practice assessment otherwise change won’t be sustainable.



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