Trauma is a widespread, harmful, and costly public health issue that occurs as a result of violence, traumatic experiences, abuse, neglect, loss, disaster, war, and other harmful experiences. It has no boundaries with regard to age, gender, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, geography, or sexual orientation. Trauma is frequently experienced by people with mental and substance use disorders and is impacted by social service systems that are understanding and responsive.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) defines trauma-informed care as a strengths based service delivery approach that is grounded in an understanding of and responsiveness of the impact of trauma, that emphasizes physical, psychological, and emotional safely for both providers and survivors to rebuild a sense of control and empowerment.
The need to address trauma is increasingly viewed as an important component of effective behavioral health service delivery. Being trauma informed and trauma responsive requires collaboration among all public serving entities. We care about our children, our families, and our communities and want to be part of the collaborative solution.
DHHS OCFS, in partnership with providers, families, and the community, is building the steppingstones toward becoming a trauma-informed and trauma-responsive state.
What Does It Mean to Be Trauma Informed?
- We realize and recognize the widespread impact of trauma and understand individualized paths for recovery.
- We recognize the signs and symptoms of trauma in clients, families, staff and others involved within the system.
- We respond through integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices.
- We actively avoid re-traumatization.
- We incorporate knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices.
- We strive for a standard, unified working concept that will serve to advance the understanding of trauma and a trauma-informed approach for public institutions and service sectors
(Adapted from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s “Trauma-Informed Approach.”)
SAMHSA's trauma-informed approach (Lang et al., 2015)
Solution for Maine:
To accomplish our goals to become a trauma-informed state, there must be a multi-agency approach that includes providing trauma-informed education, staff training, and programming aimed at decreasing the effects of trauma. As a community, we will identify ways to become more resilient and make a commitment to move to become completely trauma informed. Efforts are currently underway toward attaining this goal, through additional training being provided, working towards Trauma-Informed Agency (TIA) assessments, and through continued collaboration with the community.
- TIA Agency Assessment Tool implementation
- Developing a resource page for trauma supports and information
- TF-CBT training for clinicians
- Trauma Informed 101 Webinar