The National Council on Behavioral Health (NCBH) estimates that 70 percent of Americans haveexperienced some kind of trauma in their lifetime.
Trauma occurs when a person is overwhelmed by events or circumstances and responds with intense fear, horror, and helplessness. Extreme stress overwhelms the person’s capacity to cope. There is a direct correlation between trauma and physical health conditions such as diabetes, COPD, heart disease, cancer, and high blood pressure.
— National Council on Behavioral Health
“And when you factor in more recent concerns like an intense fear of COVID-19, racial bias and violence in the country, the stress of the political environment, and extremely dangerous fire seasons and weather patterns, it’s understandable that people are living with a fair amount of anxiety and experiencing intense emotions,” said Jill Bower, Operations Manager.
“As a result, the board adopted a Trauma-Informed Care Policy in June,” she continued. “The purpose is to ensure that services and programs recognize trauma issues that our community members may be dealing with and avoid interactions and activities that may trigger someone served by the Redmond Senior Center.”
“We shared this policy and what it means to members in an email,” Bower said. She wrote: “Being trauma-informed means assuming that any individual you meet is more than likely to have a history of trauma. At RSC, we believe that every person who walks in our doors has the innate right to be here and to feel accepted. We ask that you open your minds and hearts and foster a welcoming community.”
The focus at the Center is currently on training board members and staff about traumainformed care. “Then we’ll be working with volunteers, especially our Meals on Wheels drivers who often get a more intimate glimpse of someone’s behavioral health,” said Bower. “Finally, we’ll consider providing some educational programming to our membership.”
“We’ve already seen positive effects from this new awareness,” explained Bower. “It’s helped us deescalate some tensions as people returned to the Center and began to socialize again. We’ve learned that it’s really about listening and hearing someone’s story so you can begin to recognize potential triggers and plan an appropriate response.”
According to the NCBH, some of the most common causes of trauma include childhood neglect or abuse; physical, emotional or sexual abuse; experiencing accidents or natural disasters; intense loss and grief; witnessing acts of violence and war; serious medical interventions and chronic illness; and systemic cultural, racial or generational bias.
Helpful programming can include recognizing symptoms of trauma, developing coping strategies, advising on how to communicate with medical providers, and understanding what traditional and alternative therapies or treatments are available. You can learn more about these at https://www.thenationalcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Trauma-infographic.pdf?daf=375ateTbd5