NEED FOR TRAUMA-INFORMED CARE
Trauma is a near universal experience of individuals with behavioral health problems. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health, 55% – 99% of women in substance use treatment and 85% – 95% of women in the public mental health system report a history of trauma, with the abuse most commonly having occurred in childhood. The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente is one of the largest investigations ever conducted to assess associations between childhood maltreatment and later-life health and well-being. Almost two-thirds of the study participants reported at least one adverse childhood experience of physical or sexual abuse, neglect, or family dysfunction, and more than one of five reported three or more such experiences.
An individual’s experience of trauma impacts every area of human functioning — physical, mental, behavioral, social, spiritual. The ACE study revealed the economic costs of untreated trauma-related alcohol and drug abuse alone were estimated at $161 billion in 2000. The human costs are incalculable.
Trauma is shrouded in secrecy and denial and is often ignored. When we don’t ask about trauma in behavioral health care, harm is done or abuse is unintentionally recreated by the use of forced medication, seclusion, or restraints.
The good news is trauma is treatable — there are many evidence-based models and promising practices designed for specific populations, types of trauma, and behavioral health manifestations.
A Revolutionary Approach
Oprah Winfrey and 60 Minutes underscored the impact of trauma in our world. It’s time we recognize the importance of trauma-informed care. Read more on the response from our President and CEO, Linda Rosenberg.