Trauma-Informed Care

Trauma has emerged as an important public health concern because it has long-term adverse effects upon physical and mental health. Trauma contributes to chronic health and behavioral health conditions. People in our communities, especially those with mental illness and substance use disorders, experience trauma in complex ways. Many of us have experienced traumatic events, such as assault, neglect, and other forms of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse in our homes, neighborhoods, schools, and institutions, including jails, prisons, and hospitals, where forced restraints and isolation may have been used.

Health and behavioral healthcare professionals who provide care to the traumatized often have their own trauma histories. They also experience the effects of secondary (or vicarious) trauma through the behaviors, stories, and struggles of people they encounter. 

What is Trauma-Informed Care? 

Trauma-informed care is a strengths-based service delivery approach "that is grounded in an understanding of and responsiveness to the impact of trauma; that emphasizes physical, psychological, and emotional safety for both providers and survivors; that creates opportunities for survivors to rebuild a sense of control and empowerment." (Hopper, Bassuk, and Olivet, 2010, p.82).

(Source: Hopper, E. K., Bassuk, E. L., and Olivet, J. (2010). Shelter from the storm: Trauma-informed care in homeless service settings. The Open Health Services and Policy Journal, 3, 80-100).

What is a Trauma-Informed Organization?

Trauma-informed organizations work to eliminate policies and practices that might traumatize and re-traumatize their clients and employees. Organizations develop policies and practices that promote safety, trust, transparency, collaboration, mutuality, empowerment, and choice among staff members and people seeking help. Organizations achieve this through a careful process that includes input from a range of stakeholders, including people who have survived trauma in their lives. These organizations also become mindful of trauma triggers—events that might activate conscious and unconscious memories of and defenses against the effects of trauma. 

Six Core Principles

The Center for Evidence-Based Practices utilizes the six core principles of Trauma-Informed Care (TIC), as defined by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), to inform its work with health and behavioral healthcare systems and organizations:

  • Safety
  • Trustworthiness and Transparency
  •  Peer Support
  • Collaboration and Mutuality
  • Empowerment, Voice and Choice
  • Cultural, Historical, and Gender Issues

(Source: SAMHSA's Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma-Informed Approach (2014), p10. Pub ID#: SMA14-4884.)

Consulting and Training

Our center supports the statewide TIC initiative of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS), which continues to train numerous health and behavioral healthcare providers about trauma-informed approaches. In each of Ohio's six regions, people from a variety of stakeholder groups have been trained in the basics of TIC. Contact trainers in your region for more information about on-site training.

Resources and Tools

The Center for Evidence-Based Practices has developed a number of resources to help with the implementation of Trauma-Informed Care, including posters and resources from our training events. 

See the Trauma Informed Care Resources page

Related Stories