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Trauma Informed Care Edit

Written By: Stephanie Hume Edit

It is important to be aware and informed of trauma and its effects on the population. Trauma is specific and unique to the individual who experiences it. Trauma can also have damaging effects to the brain and to a person's ability to function in society. Being informed on trauma can help those in need of assistance and it can promote a thriving community.

Advocacy for Children and FamiliesEdit

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Trauma as mentioned in the video below by Nadine Burke Harris, can have detrimental and long lasting mental health side effects as well as medical side effects. Trauma informed care is emerging with new and profound research on children and families exposed to adversity. It is a framework on how to intervene in situations where individuals have gone through sexual abuse, domestic abuse, neglect, maltreatment, or even substance abuse. There is a wide spectrum of categories that fall under the umbrella term complex/adverse trauma. In today's society there is a severe lack of recognition regarding childhood trauma in particular. According to Kenny et al. (2017)[1] research shows that there is an absence of information being taught on this subject especially in the mental health profession graduate programs. Being ill informed on this subject could lead a person to misconstrue what a child is actually going through, much like Dr. Harris stated in her Ted Talk about children being referred to her for ADHD when in reality it was something much different. For instance, when a person is presented with a fearful situation, the fight or flight response is evoked. Dr. Harris (2015) states that the fight or flight response is made up of stress horomones and adrenaline in order to get your body ready for what is about to come. When a child is constantly undergoing this cycle of fight or flight due to trauma, the cycle can have negative long lasting impacts on the brain. Some of these impacts mentioned are; the nucleus accumbens (pleasure reward), prefrontal cortex (impulse control, executive function), and amygdala (fear response), all of these changes in the brain have been linked to substance abuse among people exposed to trauma (Harris, 2015). Low SES (social economic status) also shows a correlation to a higher risk of children and family exposure to adversity. One common tool of evaluation among medical and mental health care professionals is the use of the ACEs scale. According to The Children and Youth Services Review "The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study (Felitti et al., 1998) in the U.S. has demonstrated a link between adverse childhood experiences, including sexual abuse, and the development of poor health outcomes as adults...Thus, intervention and treatment for victims by qualified staff are critical. To better meet the needs of these victims, Trauma Informed Care (TIC) is among the initiatives employed by agencies to promote trauma-informed awareness" (Kenny et al., 2017). Advocates and health care professionals should strive to teach their community about trauma informed care because "child maltreatment, including physical and sexual abuse, has become a serious public health issue in the United States (U.S.). In 2014,there were nationally estimated 702,000 victims of child abuse and neglect" (Kenny et al., 2017) in order to keep our children safe we need to advocate for their needs so as to establish a better future. Ways in which we as a community can advocate for children and families is by reporting any suspected child abuse or domestic violence. Mandated reporters are required by law to report these things, however, a mandated reporter is any person(s) who work closely or regularly with children or adults. Non mandated reporters (citizens who do not work regularly with children) are not required by law to report abuse, but by adopting the mandated reporter mindset we can all help to work towards the goal of caring for families and children. Another way to become an active child/family advocate is to get involved with your community and help to spread awareness to others who are not educated on this vital matter.

"Awareness is like the sun. When it shines on things, they are transformed."

― Thich Naht Hanh[[source]]
How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime - Nadine Burke Harris

How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime - Nadine Burke Harris


Kenny, M. C., Vazquez, A., Long, H., & Thompson, D. (2017). Implementation and program evaluation of trauma-informed care training across state child advocacy centers: An exploratory study. Children and Youth Services Review, 73, 15-23. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2016.11.030

T. (2015, February 17). How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime | Nadine Burke Harris. Retrieved July 24, 2018, from

Trauma Informed Care and Schools. (n.d.). Retrieved July 24, 2018, from

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