Mollie Pedigo, Erica Nieves, Mildred Pinales, Ana Alvarez
Trauma & Violence Initiative
POLICY BRIEF 04/12/16
According to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, a lifetime history of sexual abuse among women in childhood or adulthood ranges 15% to 25% (“Trauma and violence”, 2015). Understanding how to better prevent, treat, and support victims of trauma and violence can drastically improve not only life conditions but life expectancy as well(“Adverse childhood…”, 2016).
Trauma and violence are widespread, harmful, and expensive public health issues. These issues affect all ages, genders, socioeconomic statuses, sexual orientations, races, and ethnicities. These acts are common among adults and children in American communities; especially common in the lives of people with mental and substance use disorders. As a result of this, there is a growing need to address trauma, in order to promote and provide helpful behavioral health care (“Trauma and violence”, 2015). There are studies that indicate that trauma is correlated with behavioral health and chronic physical health issues (“Trauma and violence”, 2015). Substance use such as alcoholism, drug use, and smoking, mental health issues such as depression, PTSD, & anxiety and other dangerous behaviors such as self-injury behaviors have been connected to trauma. Since these health issues can cause difficulties in forming relationships, jobs, and other parts of life, it is highly significant to acknowledge the effects of trauma and how to develop ways of coping and healing (“Trauma and violence”, 2015).
OUTPUTS & OUTCOMES
There are several organizations that are actively pursuing the reduction of trauma and violence in the communities of America. SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) is a government agency within the Health and Human Services department. This administration has produced six strategic initiatives that are meant to help victims; The Prevention of Substance Abuse and Mental Illness initiative, The Health Care and Health Systems Integration Initiative, The Trauma and Justice Initiative, The Recovery and Support Initiative, The Health Information Technology Initiative, and the Workforce Development Initiative. Through these initiatives, SAMHSA is hoping to address prevention of substance abuse and mental illnesses. They also want to promote emotional health and wellness, allow for more access to recovery programs, and support the recovery process (“Trauma and Violence”, 2015).
The NCTSN (National Childhood Traumatic Stress Network) has initiated treatment approaches that can assist victims of early childhood trauma; The Alternatives for Families: A Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (AF-CBT) approach, the Attachment, Self-Regulation and Competency (ARC) approach, the Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) approach, the Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) approach, the Preschool PTSD Intervention approach, and the Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) approach. Outcomes for these approaches have been concluded through a variety of measures and assessments. Over all, it has been reported that the approaches have had progressive results (“Early Childhood Trauma”, 2016).
The CDC (Center for Disease Control) created the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) in order to prevent injuries and deaths correlated to violence. Included in the NCIPC is the Division of Violence Prevention (DVP), Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, Division of Acute Care, Rehabilitation Research, and Disability Prevention. Specifically, the DVP is focused on violence prevention. They are addressing this by monitoring violence-related injuries, conducting research, conducting and evaluating the effectiveness of violence prevention programs, assisting state and local agencies plan, implement, and evaluate violence prevention programs (“Injury, Prevention, and Control..”, 2015).
Trauma and violence is an issue that is very important, in terms of health, and should be acknowledged at all times. We know now, with studies such as the ACE study, that trauma and violence play a major role on the lives of any person, regardless of gender, age, sxual orientation, and ethnicity, and can affect them and their families generationally.(“Adverse Childhood Experiences”, 2016) Big agencies, such as the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Service Administration, the Center for Disease Control, and the National Childhood Traumatic Stress Network recognize that trauma and violence plays a key factor in mental, emotional, physical, or social problems. They also recognize that prevention of trauma and violence will ultimately result in the decrease of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and lung disease (“Injury and prevention…”, 2015). This information emphasizes that mental health and the protection of its development is important. By providing training on trauma-informed medical care or by providing a drug overdose/recovery toolkit with information for families and individuals as well as the community, makes having good mental health a possibility (“Trauma and violence”, 2015).
IMPLICATIONS & RECOMMENDATIONS
Implications: Through the research conducted there seemed to be many implications. Even though, SAMHSA “promotes and implements prevention and early intervention strategies to reduce the impact of mental and substance use disorders in America’s communities” (SAMHSA, 2015.) There is still much more work to do. They have to design strategies that increase the public knowledge and awareness of the health issues. Also, it helps communities raise awareness of the consequences of this problem it has on young people. We also looked through some websites that helped us to understand more about how these implications affect families and communities.
On the other hand, it really important to talk with your child about trauma and violence issues. It could be critical in recognizing and preventing act of violence. The best way to help children is to guide parents through discussions not just school violence, but community violence as well. Workshops can help parents to encourage children to talk about their problems and express their feelings. For example, some children may not understand the term of violence. They don’t know how school and community violence can affect each individual life. For this reason, it is important let children know that they are not dealing with their fear alone because we are here for them.
Recommendations: We recommend different strategies that help prevent trauma and violence on children. For example, America’s communities have to be more aware about the health issues because everyone can be affected. Environment intervention strategies can also help to prevent the abuse substance because some of these strategies are designed to help families and communities to develop a healthy environment for children. We also recommend building resilience and competence in children and parents because these strategies help them to control the mental health issue. As well, children and families have to live in safe and supportive environment because it contributes to building a safe community.
Schools can make a huge different in a child’s life by raising awareness and educating other such families about this important issue. One way may be, start educating children young by informing them about the possible dangers around their communities and inside them. Another way may be, to encourage children to participate in anti-violence programs and actions. These programs can help them to develop problem solving and conflict resolution skills. If we implement these strategies into our curriculum, children would be talking about their behavior or emotions. They will have health professional at school or at their community.
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