Local community organizations form Trauma Team

MANISTEE COUNTY — Throughout the past few years in the nation, social services and behavioral health based organizations have spent time and resources developing a better understanding of trauma and the impact that it can have on individuals, families and even from childhood experiences. Centra Wellness

With that in mind, a local cooperative initiative through the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), a community Trauma Team was established to further work toward providing a better understanding and support within Benzie and Manistee counties for children and adults impacted by trauma.

Additionally, Karen Goodman, director of Systems Development with Centra Wellness Network, said the Benzie-Manistee Community Trauma Team aims to help each community to become more trauma informed, through practices and education implemented in any type of service setting or organization.

The Trauma Team was formed about six months ago, rotating meetings between Manistee and Benzie counties. Currently, eight to 10 regular attendees are represented from at least six to seven different local organizations.

The Benzie-Manistee Community Trauma team includes representatives of Centra Wellness Network, Department of Health and Human Services, Manistee County’s 19th Circuit Court, Manistee ISD, Manistee Area Public Schools, Adoptive Family Support Network, Benzie Head Start, MSU Extension, Traverse Bay Area ISD and Benzie Human Services Collaborative.

GOODMAN

GOODMAN

“Attendance also shifts depending on the county; there are times when more people can attend when the meeting is in their county,” said Goodman. “However, the group is continuing to get the word out on this important issue, and participation continues to grow.”

According to Benzie-Manistee Community Trauma team members, their vision is to bring about cultural change throughout both communities by incorporating the key trauma principles: safety, trustworthiness, peer support, collaboration, voice/choice and cultural.

The team’s mission is to become a community resource for trauma informed practices, said Goodman.

“To be ‘trauma informed’ means that we realize the widespread impact of trauma, and understand potential paths for recovery,” said Goodman. “Recognizing the impact of trauma on families, staff and community members is important to our mission.”

Goodman said this knowledge of support and improved services can benefit those who experience trauma in many ways.

“Being trauma informed when working at the hospital, jails or within schools provides professionals an ability to understand some of the reactions and/or responses an individual may demonstrate. Also, how to support that person while in your care or supervision,” said Goodman. “School personnel could better understand the causal factors of trauma on a child’s reluctance to interact with peers, or to act out negatively.

“Even the court system and other county organizations would have knowledge and tools to better understand the array of responses provided by a trauma survivor.”

Understanding trauma, Goodman said, can help survivors to improve and focus on their well-being, and teach others to understand the behaviors and impacts of trauma on an individual.

“This initiative will assist those working with trauma survivors to understand the impact of treating and working with these survivors on their own well-being. This is referred to as secondary or vicarious trauma,” she said. “The ability to recognize trauma, and how it impacts a person’s behaviors and well-being, assures successful practices and responses in many aspects of our community.”

Those interested in joining the team should attend Trauma Team meetings on the first Thursday of each month. For more information, contact the coordinator of the program, Robin McGarrah, at mcgarrahr@michigan.gov or (231) 299-4175.

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Posted by Ashlyn Korienek

Ashlyn is the cops & courts and city reporter for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3109 or akorienek@pioneergroup.com

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