Perhaps a co-worker acts standoffish or even downright rude at times, seemingly for no reason. Maybe the co-worker simply is having a bad day – or is a trauma survivor.
Providing education so residents understand trauma and its survivors is one of the goals of the Lucas County Trauma-Informed Care Coalition, which formed in January 2015. The coalition provides free trainings on trauma and trauma-informed practices to employers and other organizations in the community, including schools.
Trauma is a normal response to an abnormal situation, and poverty and abuse are common types of trauma in Lucas County, says trainer Alicia Komives, LISW-S, a coalition founder and Advisory Board member.
“I think people are relieved to hear it’s not about anything being wrong with them,” Alicia says. “It’s what happened to them.”
Types of Trauma
Trauma affects people of all ages and backgrounds. An event or circumstance that is physically or emotionally harmful – or even life threatening – can have lasting adverse effects on a trauma survivor’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional and spiritual well-being, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
There are three types of trauma:
- Abuse, including emotional, sexual, physical and institutional abuse. Domestic violence, witnessing violence and bullying are other forms of abuse.
- Loss, including death, abandonment, neglect, separation, natural disasters, accidents, terrorism and war.
- Chronic stressors, including poverty, racism, invasive medical procedures, community trauma, historical trauma and having a relative with a substance abuse disorder.
Collaboration and Understanding
The coalition is working to identify gaps and barriers to trauma-informed and trauma-specific services in Lucas County, as well as increase collaboration among systems. For the coalition, making Lucas County a trauma-informed community involves creating a highly integrated system of care that effectively identifies, responds to, and educates residents about trauma using trauma-informed principles.
Free, evidence-based trainings offered by the coalition help organizations understand trauma and how to help survivors. The trainings can be customized and are available for a variety of subjects, and they can be done in one- or two-hour sessions. To request a training for a workplace or other organization, please click here.
“We want to get information out to people and increase awareness in the community,” says Alicia, who also is a pre-school social worker at Toledo Public Schools.