What does “trauma-informed” mean and why is it important?

You may already be using a “trauma-informed lens,” or have just heard about it. It relates to always taking care when communicating to avoid further hurting others if they’ve been traumatized.

The past two years have been very difficult, especially for caregivers and young people in our families, communities, and schools. A new report from the People for Education who surveyed school principals across Ontario from October 2021 to January 2022 confirms the cost: “Student and staff mental health and well-being continue to suffer,” (March 2022, p.7).  Being trauma-informed is crucial.

Mental Health Educator Tammy Whelen spoke to our community on May 25 about how individuals respond differently to trauma, and who may be impacted by traumatic events. She discussed how some individuals may find themselves reminded of trauma in a way that arouses deep-rooted reactions.

Watch the recording of the webinar as Tammy also explains the following.

Making spaces and conversations safer.

  • Lowering the risk of introducing triggers
  • Giving permission to shut-out uncomfortable events
  • Validating feelings, without judgement
  • Assisting those in distress to “ground themselves” and refocus on the present

Using “low impact disclosure” – A technique to share stories and/or information without “sliming” and/or traumatizing our colleagues, family, or friends.

Why taking care of ourselves is vital – Self-care is a key part of mental, social, and physical health whether we are caregivers or receiving care.  

  • Stay active
  • Remain connected to communities
  • Be mindful, and reduce stress
  • Eat well and sleep well
  • If things are too tough, seek urgent support from a family physician and/or mental health professional (e.g., psychiatrist or registered psychologist, social worker, or psychotherapist).
Our favourite emcee, Coach Miguel Martinez, speaks to Tammy Whelen about being prepared for trauma in others. Click here to watch the webinar.

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