Strategy 6: Trauma-informed Communities
Trauma exists as a part of everyday life. All the major religions talk about how hardships lead to personal growth. Our response at PERRY OEC, is to help create trauma-informed communities by offering training that leads to posttraumatic growth and wellness. Our workshops help people better understand trauma, its dynamics, how to work through it, and how it leads to posttraumatic wellness. Our workshops include a handbook that each person is able to download and use to help them create a more meaningful and fulfilling life for themselves. Our workshops are designed to inform our participants, support the work that participants are doing to achieve wellness and does not replace the the work performed through counseling or through other treatment methodologies,
Our training faculty are trauma survivors themselves so as we work with trauma survivors by bringing our lived experiences as well as our professional expertise into the training environment making it possible to speak directly to participants who may very well be working through their own trauma or have family members who are working through trauma. This part of our work leads directly to improved well-being for those who are willing to work towards reshaping their lives by challenging their mental constructs, belief systems, and life scripts in-use to forge new ways of being.
NOTE: Since we know that discrimination produces trauma for its victims we link our diversity and fairness interventions to our work with trauma-informed communities.
Did you know that in a 2016 report more than half (53%) of Americans reported experiencing trauma in the workplace with more than half (54%) also stating their employers did not offer any support for grieving or coping in the aftermath of traumatic events? According to the National Safety Institute every year millions of Americans report having been victims of workplace violence. For example, in 2017, there were 18,400 injuries with 458 fatalities in the workplace. There have been such significant numbers of traumatic events within workplaces over the years that we have a name for it, going postal.
It is clearly established that trauma is additive and becomes more impactful as the number of traumatic events multiply over time. So, the trauma experienced in work environments adds significantly to the trauma experienced in other environments e.g., domestic violence, discriminatory practices experienced by some groups such as being targeted or profiled by police, being followed in stores while shopping, etc. In 2013, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) undertook a study of trauma to determine the degree of trauma in the general population and it was found that 90% of nearly 3,000 respondents reported having experienced at least one seismic traumatic event in their lifetimes with the norm being multiple events. The data are absolutely clear illustrating just how pervasive trauma is in our society.
Further, since the emergence of the pandemic, domestic violence and suicide rates are on the rise requiring increased interventions by mental health workers. In response to this demand, we offer training for broad audiences (students, employees, communities, frontline first response workers, teachers, counselors, etc.) to teach them about trauma, what it is, its potential aftereffects (social, emotional, behavioral, and psychological), traumatic events in the workplace, and opportunities for posttraumatic wellness (see below).
Creating trauma-informed communities has several positive outcomes for workplace environments including producing supportive communities of practice in which people understand and acknowledge the existence of high rates of trauma globally and in their communities, providing a stronger foundation for people to recognize and work through their own trauma, creating a level of inoculation that can help mitigate some of the impacts of additive trauma as new events emerge), and it reduces the potential for increased trauma from occurring as more people within the community become informed about the conditions within the community.