Project Turnabout Hosts Trauma Informed Care Lunch and Learn
Updated: Oct 31, 2022
For the 83 non-healthcare professionals that participated in Project Turnabout’s Trauma Informed Care Lunch and Learn on April 1, it was a time to get out of their comfort zone with interactive exercises helping participants learn about this important topic that has a huge value in today’s world. For the Women’s Fund, it was exciting to see our $5,000 grant at work. A big shout out to Project Turnabout’s team for a job well done!
Trainers Marty Paulson (Executive Director/CEO of Project Turnabout) and Tanya Friese (Director of Granite Falls Clinical Support) kept the audience engaged and informed using different activities and real-life examples. Trauma informed care is about organizations putting practices in place that include respect, open mindedness, empathy and understanding. Project Turnabout definitely thought outside the box bringing the information to community members working outside the healthcare industry.
Most of us—somewhere between 55% and 90% by some measures—have experienced trauma and everyone’s trauma is different. The message was to always look at things from an open perspective. Professionals need to respect how a person that has experienced trauma is feeling. The iceberg visual describes that often what others see, hear and observe is not what that person is going through underneath. They may only share a little bit, and just like that iceberg, there is often something bigger underneath.
What is trauma?
Individual trauma results from an event, series of events, or set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life threatening and that has lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being.
How to bring Trauma Informed Care into the Workplace
Businesses can start with something as simple as a poster, bringing awareness to trauma informed care. Here is one example of the CARES graphic, Compassion | Accessibility | Respect | Empowerment | Safety. One key sign that an organization is “trauma informed” is when the organization’s environment feels safe and is safe and supportive for all people who have experienced trauma. Staff use language that supports safety, choice, collaboration, trustworthiness, and empowerment.
During the training, wellness tools were practiced that help ed us feel better and less stressed. We were reminded even when speaking of trauma, one can start experiencing anxiety, discomfort and fear.
When we do something that is focused on our wellness, we are less focused on the illness. Focused breathing exercises and grounding were mixed in throughout the day’s training. For children experiencing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), their survival mode response to toxic stress increases a child’s heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and muscle tension. Imagine a 15-year-old that feels fear all day long at school due to bullying by peers. Their thinking brain is knocked off-line. Self-protection is their top priority. They aren’t productive, but anxious and unable to focus on the task. They don’t feel safe. Their heart beats 10-15 times faster with less oxygen going to their brain and limbs. This reduces the ability to respond, learn, and figure things out which causes problems in school. That child’s tolerance for stress lowers, resulting in behaviors such as fighting, checking out or defiance. Through stress, ACEs may cause lasting health problems.
Here is a list of adverse childhood experiences (ACES) that children in our community may be experiencing, which in turn can create reoccurring trauma: maternal depression, emotional and sexual abuse, substance abuse, homelessness, divorce, mental illness, physical or emotional neglect, bullying, racism, natural disasters, witnessing violence outside the home, domestic violence and incarceration. The Women’s Fund knows that different environments such as poverty, housing insecurity, violence, discrimination, lack of opportunity, mobility and social capital, and community disruption affects those affected by trauma.
Intersectionality encourages our partners to work with each other collaboratively alongside those victims directly impacted by trauma. It requires a different approach to helping individuals that have experienced trauma. We cannot just focus on one problem to address. We believe we need to encompass a multi-lens approach. We must commit to a longer-term strategy rather than expecting an overnight solution.
Trauma informed care implementation grants will continue to be a focus during our 2022 Caring for Women Campaign as we work to broaden awareness and further expand the reach to additional professionals in Kandiyohi County that work with children, youth, and families.