Neural evidence of resilience is seen when an individual engages in new problem-solving activity (thoughts, feelings, or behaviors) in the face of a challenge. The goal of effective crisis response is to establish a safe environment that allows the individual to move past feeling overwhelmed and begin to create a plan to use helpful coping strategies. New behaviors lead to new neural pathways, and hopefully, a new state of equilibrium for the individual when the issue is resolved. For others, particularly those with significant histories of abuse or those under unrelenting stress, their coping mechanisms can be overrun, leaving them further traumatized and in need of support.
Those impacted by traumatic events and toxic stress are known to have shifts in decision making related to their health (e.g., substance use, risky sexual behavior, and disordered eating). Trauma leads to risk health behavior via coping behaviors (e.g., using substances to cope with intense emotions) and impulsivity (i.e., a lack of inhibition). Thus, increasing traumatic experiences across the globe relevant to the pandemic are likely to impact health decision making and associated costs in health care needs. One of the major features explaining the impact of trauma on health decision making is its impact on emotion regulation. Experiences with trauma increase the intensity and frequency of emotions such as fear, anger, and hurt – which result in increased difficulty concentrating in day-to-day life, planning ahead, and in the moment decision making. Thus, making health decisions is complicated by a history of trauma.
Intergenerational trauma is trauma that moves through and affects people within a family or community which results from a traumatic event that happened years before the current generation. Intergenerational trauma can affect how individuals within a family or community understand, deal with and heal from trauma. The effects of intergenerational trauma are palpable and serious. So what can be done to either support people who experience intergenerational trauma as allies or personally cope as survivors with the combined traumas of COVID-19 and intergenerational trauma?
While many organizations have embraced using trauma-informed practices, it may be challenging to start implementing trauma-informed workplace policies. Using trauma-informed Human Resources practices provides a concrete opportunity to embed trust, transparency, safety, and collaboration into everyday organizational practices.
Since the pandemic began in 2020, over 72,000 people have called our Emotional Support Helpline to talk with NY Project Hope’s trained crisis counselors and over 2.5 million people have logged onto NYProjectHope.org to find links to community resources, as well as information and coping tips. We want folks to know that they are not alone; NY Project Hope is here for ALL New York State Residents! NY Project Hope is a program of the NYS Office of Mental Health and is funded by FEMA.
In the fall, many students will be returning to school after a two-year period during which they were socially isolated due to the COVID-19 pandemic and although there are signs of hope for the future the COVID-19 pandemic continues with much talk about the delta variant driving spikes in new infections and increased vaccination rates amid ongoing controversies about vaccine and mask mandates. As we look toward the uncertain future, schools can play a major role in promoting collective healing from COVID-19. It will take preparation and a comprehensive approach that supports students, families and staff to move towards recovery from what has been and will continue to be the largest mass disaster event of our lifetime
While animal companions such as dogs, cats, and even horses have been kept close to the home for centuries, an ever-increasing body of research has supported the role of animals in promoting emotional health in humans. Animals provide a unique therapeutic benefit beyond what can be accomplished exclusively through traditional interventions. Animal-assisted interventions have wide-reaching benefits and the impact is particularly well noted when working with those who have experienced trauma.
Earlier this year, legislation was passed that directed the Commissioner of the Office of Mental Health “convene a workgroup and report regarding frontline worker trauma informed care” in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This group was launched in February with Donna Bradbury (OMH) and Glenn Liebman (MHANYS) as co-chairs and is comprised of thirty trauma-informed care champions from a variety of fields and perspectives from across the state.
Is there ever a perfect time? My parents, loved ones, and mentors would tell me no. There will never be a perfect time. No matter how hard we try to “control”, “manage”, and “optimize” our time, we will still be left with the feeling that we need more or didn’t accomplish what we wanted to do or needed to do. How many times has “If I could turn back time or had more time” echoed across our minds at some point in our day, month or year? What would we do if we could turn back time or had more time?
That acknowledgment that there will never be a perfect time and the need to take action is what drove the creation and formation of Care Compass Network’s Regional Trauma-Informed Care Network (RTIC) in April 2019. Our team has been together for over two years and all of us believe that the time is NOW to push the Trauma-Informed Care movement forward.
We are proud to fund and support a total of four- TIC pilots in their journey towards trauma-informed and building resiliency for their staff and community that they serve.
Much research and scholarship has been dedicated to understanding the way trauma, such as social injustice and systemic inequality, affects people. When this type of research is used to disrupt the social status quo or restore power to marginalized groups it is called social justice research. However, history shows that research may also further oppress groups and maintain systemic inequality when the people effected don’t have a voice in the results. Within a Youth Voices project, we are striving to hear the narratives of youth in Monroe County. Here are some things we've learned.