People experience trauma as a result of physically or emotionally harmful or life-threatening events stemming from natural disasters, interpersonal events, and insidious and historic trauma. These events can have lasting adverse effects on functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being. In the U.S., 90% of people in public behavioral healthcare settings have experienced trauma.
As traumatic events accumulate, physical, emotional, social, and economic effects on people can become increasingly profound. Trauma can result in compromised functioning, challenges accessing physical health and mental health services, problems forming and maintaining supportive relationships, difficulty regulating affect, and neurobiological changes.
Health and human service providers and programs can support recovery from trauma by providing trauma-informed care, a strengths-based framework that involves understanding, recognizing, and responding to the effects of trauma. Trauma-informed care emphasizes physical, psychological, and emotional safety as well as control and empowerment.
Providing trauma-informed care involves integrating knowledge and understanding of trauma and recovery into everyday practice. It involves building capacity to respond to the needs of trauma survivors, prevent re-traumatization, and design and deliver effective services. Providing care in a trauma-informed manner can improve health and wellness outcomes.