FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Scott County Receives State-of-the-Art Trauma Informed Care Training
For the last decade, unlikely communities across the nation have been in the headlines for what has become one of this nation’s worst challenges—the opioid epidemic. This has led to some other unintended consequences, specifically higher rates of HIV due to syringe sharing during injection drug use.
Carol Dawson-Rose, a researcher at the International Center for HIV/AIDS Research and Clinical Training in Nursing, says that people with HIV are still at risk for premature death – not from their disease, but from conditions, such as suicide, violence or substance use, which are often related to past or current physical or psychological trauma.
No one can argue that addiction and HIV have disrupted the life of our community and caused uncertainty, fear, blame, stigma and flight. The trauma caused by this epidemic will have long-term, broad-ranging effects on personal relationships, social institutions, cultural configurations, and business organizations. Its greatest impact will be on the most vulnerable in our community, our youth.
Dawson-Rose and her colleagues suggest a research-based model known as trauma-informed care to interrupt cycles of violence, addiction and mental health challenges, and to address structural trauma, such as racism and poverty, in order to help improve the lives and health of individuals living with HIV. Equally as important, this model has been shown to foster resilience in family members, community members, and the children of Scott County, that have been vicariously traumatized by this issue.
The Get Healthy Scott County and CEASe Coalitions are collaborating with the vision of building Scott County into a Trauma-Informed Community. In 2019, Get Healthy Scott County was awarded a cross-sector training grant to help with this vision. Additionally, in their Year 3 Drug Free Communities 12-Month Action Plan, CEASe identified adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) as a primary root cause of substance use/misuse in Scott County, and therefore, incorporated the strategy of promoting community-wide trauma-informed training into their plan. They subsequently reached out to the Community Resilience Initiative (CRI) in Walla Walla, Washington, well known across the country for its outstanding trauma-informed and resilience training.
CEASe, with the assistance of their DFC evaluator, is currently administering a county-wide Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Survey, found on the CEASe Facebook Page and the CEASe website at www.sccease.org that will be accessible until July with the goal of having nearly 800 Scott County residents respond.
In early June, one hundred individuals from the 5 ALIGN Southern Indiana counties (Scott, Clark, Floyd, Harrison, Washington) attended a two day Course 1 Trauma-Informed and Course 2 Trauma-Supportive Training that addressed multiple community partners across multiple domains. Course 1, designed for all sectors and members of the community, addressed the biological impact of trauma and how to respond to those affected by it. The key objective is to provide information about identifying and responding to trauma with evidence-based resilience strategies when working with an audience whose trauma history may not be known.
Course 2, Trauma-Supportive, provided individuals with the skills to help prevent the harmful effects of trauma by fostering resilience throughout the family, classroom, business, or community. The group was taught the knowledge and skills required by individuals who have contact with those who may be adversely affected by trauma and toxic stress, whether or not the trauma is known.
The ACE Study concepts, including NEAR research findings at the core of these trainings courses, provide a framework for transformational change. The NEAR sciences is a cluster of emerging scientific findings in the fields of Neuroscience, Epigenetics, Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) Study, and Resilience. Because ACEs are common across all socioeconomic and ethnic groups, diverse people relate personally to this science. When attendees learn about ACEs, many experience increased compassion for self and others and an ‘aha’ insight about how our efforts can fundamentally transform the health of future generations in Scott County.
These courses helped us to envision a future in which adversity in childhood is rare, in which parents with the capabilities support the healthy development of children and community supports so that each child reaches his or her full potential. The attendees moved toward reciprocity and strong community capacity that will help them provide the opportunity for children to develop strong cognitive and problem-solving skills, self- regulation, the ability to make good choices, and a sense of safety and efficacy.
As a result, they will experience the security and connectedness that comes from having healthy relationships and being part of a strong community that reaches out to all of its members. As the average ACE scores will eventually be reduced across generations, the hope is that Scott County will begin to create sustainability in our social, health, workforce-development, and other service systems that are born from reducing need. Best of all, the reinvestment of avoided costs can drive iterative cycles of improvements, so our community will have the capabilities to continuously flourish.
A core group of 14 Scott County Leaders (Lisa Herald, Lori Croasdell, Tammy Davis, Tammy Walker, Shannon Mount, Michelle Korty, Cindy Watts, Kandace Spaulding, Laura Nowling, Ellen Kelly, Sherry Stout, Jennifer Reese, Christine Callaway, and Becky Anderson) also went through the Trauma-Informed Training for Trainers. This course prepared them to conduct CRI’s Trauma-Informed Certification Program, Course 1 and 2, in Scott County organizations or agencies in order to to address the long-term effects of trauma accompanying this epidemic, through an on-going, sustained effort. Trainers learned how to become local “experts,” and teach the core concepts of CRI’s Course 2, Trauma-Supportive Training.