As awareness of trauma-informed care increases the need to ensure community services are trauma-informed is growing stronger. As we continue to provide support services to those facing homelessness across the Niagara Region, it is critical that our frontline staff are trained with professional practices that strengthen our ability to serve the region’s diverse population.
Bethlehem Housing and Support Services staff, in collaboration with our community partner the YWCA Niagara Region, took part in a six-day intensive training course on trauma informed practice, with funding provided by the Niagara Region Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative.
All of our frontline staff (Outreach Support Workers, Intake Worker and Early Learning Centre Program Assistants) achieved their Level 1 Certification in Trauma Counselling as part of an organizational plan to ensure that staff understands the fundamentals of how to work effectively with people who have experienced trauma. Additionally, all remaining Bethlehem employees completed a one-day workshop on trauma and how to be trauma informed as an organization. The Board of Directors will also be participating in a trauma informed workshop to understand how to review service programs policies and governance through a trauma lens.
Trauma is considered to be an event that is either a real or perceived threat of serious injury to yourself or witnessing a serious injury or death of someone else that brings forward feelings of terror, horror or helplessness, and may be an acute traumatic event, or in other cases exposure to trauma may occur repeatedly over long periods of time. The result may be a loss of trust in others, decreased sense of personal safety, guilt and shame.
Trauma is known to be both a cause and a result of homelessness. Traumatic situations can include abuse or assault, domestic violence, political violence or war, or the sudden loss of a loved one. Those who have experienced trauma are also at higher risk of experiencing addiction and mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
For more information on trauma informed care please visit: https://www.porticonetwork.ca/treatments/approaches-to-care/trauma-informed-care.