Here you will find a brief overview of the content that will be covered on this resource page. To navigate, click on the links below to view specific sections of this guide.
The Five Questions:
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines trauma as an event, series of events, or set of circumstances that an individual experiences as physically or emotionally harmful or life-threatening and that have lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual wellbeing.
Although trauma is a universal experience, the way that individuals experience and process trauma varies from person to person. Whereas one person may experience a traumatic event and have no long-lasting effects, another person may experience their traumatic circumstances more intensely through chronic physical, emotional, and behavioral reactions that impact their daily functioning capabilities.
Because of this, addressing all traumas from the same perspective of care can be limiting. Approaching trauma from a singular or generic frame of care can leave traumatized individuals feeling that their needs have not been fully met or that their experiences were not given due diligence in the thoughtful and trauma-informed manner necessary for recovery.
When discussing trauma, there are three key components, known as the 3 E’s of trauma, that can be helpful in better understanding how traumatic events impact people. They are the event, the experience, and the effects. The event is the traumatic situation, the experience is the way that someone emotionally responds to the event, and the effects are the long-term and short-term outcomes associated with experiencing a traumatic event.
Breaking down trauma into these three components focuses on the long-term effects of traumatic experiences by tying an individual’s coping and processing methods to observable impacts of trauma. Using a framework that incorporates the traumatic event with the individual’s reaction helps more clearly explain the effects of trauma.
Sometimes, it is easy to notice when someone is exhibiting signs of trauma like hypervigilance, sleep disturbances, and lack of emotional control, but difficult to attribute those changes in behavior to a specific event. Building awareness around these three E’s of trauma can improve the way that individuals who have experienced trauma are being treated within the existing and emerging systems of care by promoting increased awareness of possible symptoms of having experienced a trauma.
That’s where trauma-informed care comes in. The goal of trauma-informed care systems is to support individuals who have been impacted by trauma and resolve trauma-related outcomes without retraumatizing people. By advocating for a system of trauma-informed care practices, proponents of trauma-informed care are seeking to shift the perspective of trauma from “what’s wrong with you?” to “what’s happened to you?”. This practice centers on the individual’s reactions to an external traumatizing event rather than implying a moral or personal shortcoming and is, therefore, more affirming and supportive to those who have experienced trauma.
There are four components, known as the four R’s of trauma-informed care, which guide community efforts to bring trauma-informed care principles to the community. First, realize that trauma is a widespread concern in the community and recognize the signs and symptoms. Then, respond to the trauma in a way that reflects your awareness that the event may affect individuals who are directly and indirectly involved in the situation. This could look like talking about the experiences of the other people outside of the epicenter of the traumatic event. Finally, all of your efforts to be supportive should resist retraumatization of individuals who have experienced trauma and are in the process of healing by avoiding potential triggers.
The American Psychological Association defines resiliency as “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress.” Resiliency involves ‘bouncing back from traumatic experiences and can also involve profound personal growth in the process. In this context, resiliency is the ability to adapt and recover following a trauma.
As a result of personal and environmental factors, individuals have different capacities for resiliency. Following the experience of a traumatic event, a person at a higher personal capacity for resiliency can return to normal more quickly and reliably than someone at a lower capacity. This is why individuals respond to traumas in such different ways: their baseline for resiliency is different based on the systems of support available in their daily lives.
That’s not to say that someone with fewer resources or services available to them is predisposed to being less resilient than others. Resiliency is not a static state or an inborn personality trait. Rather, it can be built through experiences, behaviors, thoughts, and actions over time and with intentionality.
Having a capacity for resiliency does not mean that a person is immune from trauma or its effects. Instead, they are better equipped to process and manage the impact of traumatic experiences. Resiliency can be fostered through the presence of many internal and external factors such as belonging to a close-knit group or community. One of the most significant predictors for a child’s development of resiliency is whether they have at least one reliable and responsive adult present in their life.
Adverse childhood experiences, or ACE’s, refer to potentially traumatic experiences in childhood (between the ages of 0-17) that can have long-lasting impacts on feelings of wellbeing, safety, stability, and bonding in adulthood. ACE’s can result from things like witnessing or experiencing violence, neglect, abuse, housing insecurity, food insecurity, and discrimination at home or in the community at a young age.
ACE’s have also been shown to occur with higher prevalence in households with instances of substance abuse or misuse, mental health problems, or familial instability from divorce, separation, or incarceration.
In the United States, 61% of adults have experienced at least one ACE and 16.7% have experienced at least 4 ACE’s in their lifetime. It is essential to address these traumas because ACE’s have been linked to a higher risk of chronic disease, substance abuse disorders, and mental illness in adulthood, leading to costly but ultimately preventable health expenditures.
The ACE’s Quiz is a diagnostic tool used to bring awareness to the ways that adverse experiences within the household can impact individuals as they mature to adulthood. Composed of 10 questions, it is intended to help bring awareness to ACE’s but does not serve as an indicator for future success or sensitivity to adversity. Because there are no questions about protective factors, like support systems, this assessment is an incomplete but important tool for predicting who could be at risk based on their experiences. To provide a more complete view of risk and protective factors, an assessment of stressors outside of the household, stable and supportive relationships with adults, and individual differences in social skills, genetic predisposition, and resiliency.
Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment, or SBIRT is a screening process focused on intervening in patterns of disordered or dangerous drug and alcohol-related behaviors. Individuals that are severely impacted by past traumas are at greater risk of abusing drugs and alcohol to cope or self-medicate. SBIRT serves as an early identification system that can help prevent the escalation of these behaviors.
SBIRT has been proven useful in educational, clinical, and legal systems due to its ability to quickly screen and identify potentially problematic behaviors. The SBIRT framework focuses on assessing the severity of a substance misuse concern and quickly connects individuals vulnerable to substance use disorders with the appropriate interventions.
The Community Resiliency Model, or CRM is a skills-based wellness and prevention training program that strives to create “trauma-informed” and “resiliency-focused” communities by promoting the understanding of the impact of traumatic events and chronic stress. CRM training focuses on techniques to achieve regulation in the nervous system and a better balance between the body, mind, and spirit. This model is taught so that it is easy to teach and pass on to others, therefore allowing it to permeate throughout the community.
The Community Resiliency Model was created as a non-judgmental approach to the impacts of trauma and combines clinical perspectives on the nervous system’s response to stress with the emotion-driven perspective on people’s reactions to trauma. The goal of CRM is to reinforce that it is normal to have strong reactions following a traumatic event and works from that standpoint to provide people with the tools they need to reregulate their nervous system and begin recovering from the traumatic event.
Trauma is a universal experience and has impacted an estimated 70% of adults in the United States. Traumatic experiences are not limited in scope by age, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or geography, although some marginalized groups are more likely to experience trauma.
Understanding how a community responds to individual trauma can give insight into an individual’s response to a traumatic event. After all, trauma doesn’t exist in a vacuum and is often a direct result of external, community-driven factors. On an individual level, trauma can occur in the context of geographic communities, identity-based communities, and within everyday organizations like school, work, or peer groups.
Considering individual reactions to trauma against the backdrop of community response models brings focus to the interconnectedness of individuals and communities. Individuals may process and respond to their traumas in more private settings, but within their communities, they cope, adapt, and hopefully overcome the impact of their experiences. Because it is often within a community safe–space that individuals cope with their trauma, understanding the levels of support a community provides or overlooks informs an individual’s healing process.
Trauma can also occur in a community as a whole. Communities share a collection of experiences that are passed down generationally and can have far-reaching adverse effects on the individuals in the community. Addressing traumatic experiences like violence, discrimination, racism, and inequity at an individual level can alleviate some of a community’s traumas. Still, it’s often necessary to reckon with traumas on a holistic community level to achieve systemic change.
The goal of discussing and promoting trauma-informed practices centers on crafting a better understanding of trauma and creating a common language to discuss traumatic events. This framework highlights that while we all experience traumas, the way we process and react to those events varies. The event or experience that one person has may leave them relatively unaffected by their experience. In contrast, the same event may invoke chronic physical, emotional, and behavioral reactions in another person as a result of their personal history and experiences. Creating a trauma-informed system that acknowledges that the impacts of traumatic events present differently on an individual and community level allows empathetic and considerate responses that reduce retraumatization and provide support for individuals in recovery.
The following two short infographics compile tips and suggestions surrounding personal healing from a traumatic experience. These tips are not intended to be used in place of professional guidance but instead seek to present a list of the information suggested by the top qualified individuals in the field. If you or someone you care about has experienced a traumatic event, it is recommended that you seek help from a professional trained in trauma-informed care. A list of local resources has been included later on this webpage to provide a more comprehensive community health resource bank.
In the aftermath of an emotional or traumatic event, it can be helpful to have a way to check in with yourself and assess how the experience is affecting you beyond the initial event. The R.A.I.N. technique can be valuable assets that help you to pause, take inventory of your emotional status, and then articulate and identify your feelings to yourself and to others. Coming off of a traumatic event, this is an important step in the healing process. Mindfulness fosters introspection, which can alter your perception of your emotions and allow you to more clearly ascertain your emotional state and discern the next steps that will bring you back towards equilibrium.
Using this feelings wheel to promote more effective communication of emotions can be useful for better understanding the experiences and reactions of other people. Moving outward from the inner sections, the feelings wheel is a communications device used to help individuals identify the base-level emotions they may be feeling and move outward on the wheel to the more specific and nuanced range of emotional reactions and feelings. This fosters improved understanding and a system of dialogue for expressing and communicating emotions effectively when trying to support someone who has experienced a traumatic event.
Compiled below is a list of local resources designed for individuals who have experienced or are currently experiencing a traumatic event. This guide is intended to provide linkage to Barrow, Athens-Clarke, Jackson, Madison, Oconee, and Oglethorpe counties. It reflects the most up-to-date information available when this document was created in April 2021.
For more specific local resources, please see the individual reference pages below. They include the same information available in the complete resource guide but have been broken down into smaller, more convenient guides based on topic and type of service provided.
This resource guide represents an ongoing effort to identify and provide a connection to resources in the Athens area. If there are local resources or practitioners that were not mentioned on this list that you feel would be useful to other people in the community, feel free to submit that information to us via our email, firstname.lastname@example.org , with the subject line “Trauma Resource Page Suggestion” and we will work to include it in our guide page.
Creating a trauma-informed behavioral health system is a top priority in Athens-Clarke County, the Northeast Georgia region, and the state of Georgia as a whole. Resilient Georgia aims to lead a statewide coalition to develop a trauma-informed public and private network of care providers working to create a birth-to-26 continuum of care in Georgia’s existing healthcare systems.
In 2019 Resilient Georgia partnered with the Pittulloch Foundation to offer four regionally-focused two-year grants to community foundations across the state of Georgia. Lasting until December 2021, these grants were created to support the five key priorities of Resilient Georgia by increasing the statewide capacity for and awareness of trauma-informed care.
Four organizations represent the cornerstones of institutional support that will ensure the stewardship and success of this funding opportunity for the Northeast Georgia region:
1. Athens Area Community Foundation
2.Athens Wellbeing Project
4.The University of Georgia.
These partners set forth the following goals, created to align with Resilient Georgia’s priorities and the regions’ unique needs.
Resilient Georgia is a statewide nonprofit which creates collaborative cross-sector networks which foster trauma-informed policies and practices. The mission of Resilient Georgia is to lead a statewide coalition to develop a closely aligned and trauma-informed public and private network working toward a united vision to create a birth-to-26 integrated behavioral health system. You can learn more about Resilient Georgia at https://www.resilientga.org/about and be sure to check out Resilient Georgia’s Tool Box to access tons of valuable information, including a training roadmap and video library, a well-developed resource bank, and dedicated COVID-19 and anti-racism resources.
Founded in 1987, the Pittulloch Foundation is a private foundation based in Atlanta that supports a wide range of charitable causes and organizations across the state of Georgia, including The Georgia Center for Child Advocacy, Resilient Georgia, the Atlanta Community Food Bank, and Voice for Georgia’s Children.
Envision Athens is the citizen-created and citizen-led 20-year community vision plan for Athens-Clarke County. Championing the values of unity, equity, prosperity, and compassion, Envision Athens seeks to achieve 103 action items across 14 domains, including public health, safety, education, and arts and culture.
The Athens Wellbeing Project (AWP) was launched in 2016 to build a resource that would measure wellbeing in our community. It is a collaboration among stakeholders to conduct a single community assessment by collecting and analyzing longitudinal data. The mission of AWP is to empower the Athens community with meaningful data that will lead to more informed decision-making, improvements in service delivery, and a more excellent quality of life for citizens.
The Athens Area Community Foundation is a regional philanthropic leader that works to help passionate donors leave permanent legacies, foster strategic philanthropy, and shape effective community needs through collaboration. AACF focuses on serving Barrow, Clarke, Jackson, Madison, Oconee, and Oglethorpe counties but works with partners and stakeholders from around the state to grow, preserve, and share philanthropic assets.
On May 28th the Athens Area Community Foundation, in partnership with Envision Athens and the Athens Wellbeing Project, hosted a free three-hour online training on trauma-informed care called “Trauma 101: Providing Care to Yourself and Others from a Trauma-Informed Perspective.” Initially, 950 tickets were offered for the event which completely sold out. Over 450 individuals attended nationally and globally.
The training was presented by Dr. Brian Bride, director of the School of Social Work at Georgia State University. It provided a ground-level introduction to trauma, its sources, and effects, some basics of self-care, and delved deeply into the topic of secondary trauma. Secondary trauma is typically experienced by persons who have been impacted by their work with traumatized clients or individuals, such as hospital staff or social workers. A recording of the entire training session can be found here: Trauma 101 – Providing Care for Yourself and Others from a Trauma-Informed Perspective
On June 11th, following an outpouring of interest, the grant partners convened a one-hour Coffee and Conversation Q&A opportunity with Dr. Brian Bride to provide a further chance for questions and commentary related to the initial May 28th training. Roughly half of the Q&A event was based on questions collected in preparation for the event, and then the floor was opened to any further questions. You can find a recording of the entire event here: Coffee and Conversation with Dr. Brian Bride: Q&A Follow Up
On August 3rd, the grant partners convened a second, simplified “Trauma 101” training for the workforce development staff of Goodwill of Northeast Georgia. This training was planned as the first of a two-part series. The training was again presented by Dr. Brian Bride, director of the School of Social Work at Georgia State University. It provided a ground-level introduction to trauma, its sources and effects, and some tips on implementing this newfound trauma awareness in the workplace.
On September 25th, the Athens Area Community Foundation hosted a training session that covered SBIRT, the clinical detection and intervention training method focused on breaking the cycle of substance abuse. That session was recorded and can be accessed using the link below.
Created by Mental Health First Aid USA, the Youth Mental Health First Aid training sessions are intended to provide information for people with regular interactions with adolescents. The curriculum covers both crisis and non-crisis interventions for youth experiencing mental health challenges.
In partnership with the Athens Wellbeing Project and Envision Athens, the Athens Area Community Foundation is promoting these training sessions, taught by Dr. Courtney Still Brown and Dr. Diane W. Bales of the University of Georgia. These sessions aim to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing mental health concerns, addictions challenges, or a crisis situation. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including ADHD), and eating disorders.
Registration for our next training, which will be held on October 15th, is now available. You can register for tickets here.
In April, the Athens Area Community Foundation, the Athens Wellbeing Project, and Envision Athens are partnering with the Georgia Nurses Association to bring 3 virtual training sessions to the region. For those who attended one of the three 1-hour sessions, priority registration for the 3-hour session on Friday, April 23rd is now open. There will be additional 3-hour trainings held by the Georgia Nurses Association in the future, completion of a 1-hour class is required to register for the 3-hour class.
Coming in June and August 2021, there will be 6 additional 1-hour CRM training sessions available for registration! Register now at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/community-resiliency-model-an-introductory-session-tickets-154267274571?aff=erelexpmlt
This PSA, which can be viewed below, represents the collaboration of the grant partners and key members of the community to create a tool for discussing trauma in the community. Drawing on information and testimonials from individuals in the community who work with people who have experienced trauma or have themselves experienced trauma in their lifetime, this PSA is the culmination of our work in trauma and seeks to enforce the idea that trauma is a universal experience. While most of the people you see in the video live or work in Athens, this video is designed to reach well beyond our 6-county region and is intended to be relatable and informational to people all over the state of Georgia.
Filmed and edited by Motion House Media’s Matt Hanner and Patrick Stafford, this short PSA is intended to be used from the boardroom to the classroom and everywhere in between to provide information about trauma by answering five questions:
1) What is trauma?
2) Who does it impact?
3) Why is it important?
4) What can I do if I have experienced trauma?
5) What can I do if someone I care about has experienced trauma?
American Psychological Association. Building your resilience. https://www.apa.org/topics/resilience. Published 2012. Accessed.
Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Trauma-informed care in behavioral health services. In: Trauma-informed care in behavioral health services. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; 2014.
Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Understanding the impact of trauma. In: Trauma-informed care in behavioral health services. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; 2014.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adverse childhood experiences. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/aces/index.html. Published 2020. Accessed.
Georgia General Assembly House Study Committee on Infant and Toddler Social and Emotional Health. The final report of the Georgia House of Representatives study committee on infant and toddler social and emotional health Georgia House of Representatives;2019.
Harvard Medical School. Past trauma may haunt your future health. Harvard Medical School Health Publishing. https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/past-trauma-may-haunt-your-future-health. Published 2019. Accessed.
Kurana T, MPH. Understanding how trauma affects health and health care Center for Health Care Strategies https://www.chcs.org/understanding-trauma-affects-health-health-care/. Published 2016. Accessed.
Lees, A.B. 7 tools for managing traumatic stress. National Alliance for Mental Health. https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/October-2020/7-Tools-for-Managing-Traumatic-Stress. Published 2020. Accessed.
Menschner C, Maul A. Key ingredients for successful trauma-informed care implementation. SAMHSA Center for Health Care Strategies;2016.
National Council for Behavioral Health. How to manage trauma. https://www.thenationalcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Trauma-infographic.pdf?daf=375ateTbd56. Published 2013. Accessed.
National Council for Behavioral Health. Trauma-informed, resilience-oriented care. https://www.thenationalcouncil.org/consulting-services/trauma-informed-resilience-oriented-care/. Published 2013. Accessed.
Robinson L, Smith M, M.A., Segal J, Ph.D. Emotional and psychological trauma. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/ptsd-trauma/coping-with-emotional-and-psychological-trauma.htm. Published 2020. Accessed.
SAMHSA’s Trauma and Justice Strategic Initiative. SAMHSA’s concept of trauma and guidance for a trauma-informed approach. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA);2014.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Trauma and violence. https://www.samhsa.gov/trauma-violence. Published 2019. Accessed.
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. (2019). Trauma-Informed Care Training- Types of Trauma. Retrieved from https://www.dfps.state.tx.us/Training/Trauma_Informed_Care/documents/Trauma_Informed_Care_Training.pdf
The American Society for the Positive Care of Children. (2020). The ACE’s Quiz. Retrieved from https://americanspcc.org/take-the-aces-quiz/
Trauma-Informed Care Implementation Resource Center. What is trauma-informed care? https://www.traumainformedcare.chcs.org/what-is-trauma-informed-care/. Published 2020. Accessed.
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