Main page content
In Tarpon Springs, Florida, volunteers are at the center of efforts to create a trauma-informed community. Citizen involvement is one of the hallmarks of a public health approach. It is also one of the “implementation domains” featured in SAMHSA’s Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma-Informed Approach.
San Francisco: The Power of Alignment and “Commitment to Change Training” in Trauma-Informed Systems Change
The San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) recognizes that trauma and toxic stress are critical public health concerns, with detrimental effects on individuals, agencies and across generations. But with 9,000 employees serving a diverse city with almost a million residents, making sustainable change is a daunting task. In their Trauma-Informed Systems (TIS) initiative, SFDPH has used multiple strategies to bring their entire organization – and their community partners – into alignment with principles of a trauma-informed public health approach.
Just knowing that a problem exists – or even being aware of potential solutions - is rarely enough to mobilize a community for action. In Walla Walla, Washington, the has had surprising success in generating community-wide change. They have done this by highlighting the power of collective action and by continually measuring progress towards project goals. The Walla Walla experience demonstrates the value of citizen engagement and evaluation - two of the implementation domains featured in SAMHSA’s Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma-Informed Approach.
In Worcester, Massachusetts, people who have lived experience with mental health, trauma, or severe emotional distress are sharing their stories with others and helping to heal their community. Across the country, communities use storytelling to strengthen neighborhood connections and pass along cultural customs, history, and traditions. At community gatherings, storytelling events, such as “The Moth,” provide entertainment and foster community-building. Medical schools teach narrative medicine and clinicians practice narrative therapy. In the workforce, storytelling is used to strengthen organizational culture.
Six cities were invited to SAMHSA for a listening session to present their innovative approaches to addressing trauma. This blog is part of a series that highlights community approaches in selected implementation domains and how each city is working to create safer and healthier places to live, learn, work and play.