The Momentum Toward Trauma-Informed Organizations
There’s a great deal of momentum for organizations to become trauma-informed. There are many reasons for this progressive emphasis. As providers for mental health services that have lived through the consequences of COVID attempt to meet the raging mental health needs of communities, there are many challenges. Issues like employee retention, secondary trauma, allostatic load of stress, and the struggles of meeting so many needs have challenged staff and leadership to maintain a stable environment for their organization.
Lakeside’s Impact: Supporting Organizations in Trauma Care
At Lakeside, we’ve worked with many organizations in the fray of dealing with trauma-impacted individuals in healthcare, schools, and mental health organizations. What’s significant is to realize these valuable caregivers of so many children and adults have all struggled to maintain a stable environment for their staff.
There are so many pressures, shortages of staff, systemic struggles, and many more challenges they must navigate in order to maintain their mission of providing support for their clients.
The Need for Trauma-Informed Leadership
While experiencing the intensity of these struggles, it’s quite difficult to sustain the stability of an organization. Often, the leadership becomes consumed with all the problems and defaults to a style of management that lacks compassion and sometimes becomes dissonant. This creates a negative environment that is not conducive to caring for clients and each other.
It’s why Lakeside is so committed to being a resource for trauma-informed and trauma-responsive care both for staff and for clients. Trauma-informed care is not simply a result of training. It is important for all staff to be trained in trauma knowledge and skills. However, there is so much more to creating a trauma-informed organization.
Transformative Trauma Care: From Training to Cultural Change
We are really advocating for an organizational and/or systems cultural change. We believe that for trauma care to be effective, there needs to be an environment conducive to mitigating the impact of trauma. Core to that is safety that’s physical, emotional, and relational.
To be trauma-informed allows for a resonant environment where staff have a voice to state what they need. It’s a culture of care that goes beyond the demands of work and embraces the idea that leaders are mindful, hopeful, and compassionate. It’s a system of relationships responsive to each other and understands the difficulty and complexity of dealing with clients who are trauma-impacted.
Further, that awareness should have impact to the policies, practices and values of an organization. Those policies and practices affirm a commitment to a congruent approach to both staff and clients that recognizes that their support is essential to the environment and culture.
Equipping Organizations for Trauma-Aware, Responsive, and Resilient Care
A true culture change involves both training and the willingness to make policy and practice changes that permeate the fabric of the organization to the extent that there is consistency of language and behavior. Those practices reflect a trauma lens that’s non-judgmental and restorative in nature, and can be felt in a powerful way by those who are in that environment.
Our desire is to equip every organization we work with to be trauma-aware, trauma-responsive and trauma-resilient. It’s a cultural change that will be transformative in the care of both staff and clients, leading to a more stable and safe environment.