- Nathan Stahley
In September of 2014, the Healthy By Design Coalition was awarded a tremendous opportunity to focus on becoming a more trauma-informed community. Through a $1.5 million federal grant, several organizations came together to spread awareness and build response. Over the past three years, the DE-STRESS grant has changed the way many organizations think and operate and many new resources have been put in place. At the end of August 2017, grant funding will end, but our journey to address trauma and its affects will very much continue.
Of the many accomplishments of the project, over 2000 social service providers, 1000 health care professionals and 300 educators have received training on the impact of trauma and trauma-informed care. Training will continue to be offered through over 20 Super Trainers, who are now equipped and trained to provide on-going training to the community.
Other components of the project that will continue to support our community include various marketing campaign materials including printed materials and a custom webpage (hbdyc.org/ace), a robust directory of local resources (Montana211.org), a student based mental health clinic established at Walla Walla University – Billings Campus, and a more efficient process for processing home visits for newborns.
At the end of September, a final report will be available along with a document that captures the many resources and key contacts for moving elements of this work forward. Trauma-Informed Care work will continue to be coordinated by Nathan Stahley and those interested in engaging in workgroups in this area should email email@example.com to learn more.
To truly improve community mental health and reduce substance abuse, we must better understand how the exposure to trauma – abuse, neglect, household dysfunction – affects individuals. We are working to create a trauma-informed community that is better prepared and has adequate resources to respond to behavioral health needs of individuals.
The Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) study examined associations between childhood maltreatment and adult health and well-being. It concluded that ACEs may lead to social and cognitive impairment, and subsequent adoption of potential high risk behaviors, disease, disability, social problems, and early death. Trauma-Informed Care is an approach to providing services that take in consideration the social history of the clients, patients and customers we serve. By raising awareness of the impact of ACEs and engaging our community in a trauma-informed response, we hope to create safe and empathetic environments for healing.
With a funding secured through the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health (OASH), health care, social service and education partners across the community are working on the Development of Systems for Trauma-Response Education and Supportive Solutions (DE-STRESS). The DE-STRESS grant project has engaged local partners to create trainings introducing key trauma-informed concepts as well as to teach trauma-response skills. Other components include a mindfulness class program for healthcare providers, an organizational assessment toolkit, a local mental health clinic for low-income participants, mental health resource directory via Montana211, and Universal Home Visiting Referral.