Trauma Awareness and Trauma Informed Care

Over the past several weeks and most intensively these past few days, the media has been dominated by the domestic violence perpetrated by NFL football player Ray Rice on his then fiancee (now wife). The first video of him dragging her out of the casino elevator as she lay unconscious on the floor was startling, alarming, and reprehensible. The response of the NFL and his employer the Baltimore Ravens was tepid at best. Then just the other day the second video showing the actual act of violence in the elevator has created a loud and profound outrage. The graphic nature of the video has moved the understanding of domestic violence, for many, from the abstract to the concrete. As an advocate for victim’s rights said this morning on the radio, “most people have never seen domestic violence and this video has changed the way people will now think about and discuss it.”

Janay Rice is a victim and has been traumatized. We all hope that she will get the care and support that she will need into the forseeable future. We also hope that Ray Rice gets the treatment he needs to move forward in his life as well.

Without question the events surrounding Ray and Janay Rice are horrific. We must also remember that trauma is experienced in many different ways and can have profound and lasting consequences if left untreated and the person unsupported.

For the past several years at BHRS we have had a number of “champions” that have advocated strongly for raising awareness of how trauma impacts those with behavioral health challenges and for transforming our services into a trauma informed system of care. Extensive training to our staff and providers has been provided and we are on the cutting edge of some exciting new treatment approaches and technology. In particular the Neurosequential Model of Therapy (NMT). Over the past few years we have had a cohort of clinicians trained and now applying these new therapeutic tools. Some are going on to become trainers so we can sustain and expand this work. Our Board of Supervisors has provided Measure A funding to support alternative treatment methods that can be tailored to the specific needs of clients.

As we continue to develop our individual and collective expertise in trauma informed care we must make it known to all who seek our services that they have come to a safe, welcoming and supportive place where we are understanding of how trauma has intersected in their lives and we are here in support of the recovery.