This blog will discuss and evaluate the extent to which UK public services are trauma informed, based on their communcaitions with the public such as blogs, tweets and websites. I will use materials from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to do this. This are American Organisations. I have not found equivalent British materials. The blog will also consider how trauma specific services in the UK communciate that they meet the specific needs of survivors.
Attachment Aware and Trauma Informed Services
Current research highlights the need for public services to be attachment aware and trauma informed. SAMHSA suggests that trauma informed systems, services or organisations demonstrate should committment to these four principals:
- Realizes the widespread impact of trauma and understands potential paths for recovery;
- Recognizes the signs and symptoms of trauma in clients, families, staff, and others involved with the system;
- Responds by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices; and
- Seeks to actively resist re-traumatization.
In this blog I intend to seek out and promote the ways that public services are acting to reduce harm by showing commitment to these four principals . I will also be finding examples of excellent practice where services are finding ways to promote healing from adverse child experiences and increase mental wellbeing.
I will look at the websites and tweets of public services and evalaute their communications against these criteria:
- Safety– How does the service communciate that they are a safe place? How do they promote a sense of psychological safety?
- Trustworthiness and Transparency– How does the service communicate that they are trustworthy, for instance by sharing information about complaints procedures, decision making processes, limits of confidentiality and how personal information is shared?
- Peer support– Workers need support to provide excellent care. How does the service support workers? What are their systems of supervision and support? Service users need support- what opportuntiies are their for them to sek out peers?
- Collaboration and mutuality. How does the service communicate that they have shared decision making? What happens if the service users doesn’t feel they have been fully involved?
- Empowerment, voice and choice. What choices do service users have when they use the service? How does the service build in choice to the way they work? How does the service seek out feedback on what works and what doesn’t work for service users
- Cultural, Historical, and Gender Issues. Many public services have been part of oppressive practices. Historic issues of oppression can be reflected in the current structure and practice of the institution. Does the service recognise and own its history? How do they seek to move on from these mistakes of the past?
Trauma Specific Services
Services can be trauma informed or trauma specific:all services need to be trauma informed. Trauma specific services are more targeted. They are services which claim to support people who have had experiences that their culture is able to recognise as traumatic, or who have a mental health diagnosis. These services need to have an even greater understanding of trauma. Trauma specific services also need to:
- Respect the survivor
- Provide them with information about trauma
- Provide information about the service and how it work
- Help the survivor connect to others in their communit
- Help the survivor feel hopeful about their recover
- Recognise the interrelation between trauma and signs of trauma such as; substance abuse, eating disorders, depression, and anxiety
- Work in a collaborative way with survivors, family and friends of the survivor, and other human services agencies
- Seek to give survivors choice and control