From Our Team
El Paso Child Guidance Center helping children, families by creating community of Trauma-Informed Care
Posted on September 17, 2019 by Guest Author
Psychological trauma comes in all forms and nobody is immune. Trauma is a deeply distressing or disturbing experience. When such an event occurs, the overwhelming amount of stress can exceed one’s ability to cope with the emotions tied to that experience. If not addressed properly, trauma can have lasting effects on individuals and communities for years.
To help address trauma, El Paso Child Guidance Center (EPCGC) partnered with Paso del Norte Health Foundation to champion a culture of Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) throughout the community. Our first steps were to invest in trainings and revision of policies and practices within our own organization. Now our work is moving to affect community-level change by sharing best practices through trainings, workshops and conferences.
Research shows that two-thirds of Americans have experienced at least one adverse childhood event, and that untreated trauma can impact emotional, academic, and social well-being in the short-term and lead to negative health impacts in the long-term. Taking early steps to support children and families can help prevent negative behavior and consequences.
Staff and professionals from diverse disciplines such as behavioral health, integrated health, education, juvenile justice, and substance use fields who deal with the public daily must meet the needs of the people they serve through a trauma informed lens. They must understand how trauma globally affects a person and often affects the way they behave or show up in the classroom or at work.
The core principles of Trauma Informed Care include safety, trust, transparency, collaboration, and empowerment. Promotion of these principles is most impactful when an entire community of organizations that serve children and families share and actively practice these principles. The good news is that the message is spreading.
On August 7-8, only four days after the racially motivated mass shooting, more than 450 people took part in the Trauma and Triumph conference co-led by EPCGC & El Paso Center for Children. Participants gained trauma-specific skills for serving their clients and for addressing secondary trauma and compassion fatigue (also known as secondary traumatic stress (STS), a condition characterized by lessening of compassion over time). EPCGC also developed a Learning Community working to improve care coordination so that children, youth, and their families experience all their service providers speaking the same language and caring for their needs with sensitivity to experienced hurt or trauma. Core partners in this effort are: EPCGC, El Paso Center for Children, Aliviane, Juvenile Justice Center, Region 19 Education Service Center Special Education.
Even before the August 3rd tragedy, members of our community were already exposed to community-wide traumas caused by immigration issues such as family separation, detention, deportation or having a family with mixed immigration status. These experiences compounded by the experiences of those who witnessed the August 3rd shooting first hand, the victims’ families, the first responders, and the entire border community who dealt with it in some way, shape or form highlight the urgency in taking a trauma-informed approach to healing. There are many ways we can help our community work through traumatic events. If you or someone you know is experiencing persistent severe anxiety, depression, grief, or mourning, seek out professional help.
If you are an organization leader, take steps to learn more about how to build a trauma informed culture within your organization.
If your organization would like to receive training or consultation in trauma informed practices, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you would like to receive our Trauma Informed Border Network Newsletter twice a year, please email email@example.com to subscribe.
Finally, if you or your organization or school has been impacted by the recent mass shooting, El Paso Child Guidance Center can provide therapy, group debriefing, workshops, and case management services free of charge. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 915-562-1999.
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