Mental Health America of Indiana is a strong advocate for trauma awareness, training, and treatment, as such is critical to providing comprehensive and integrated services in behavioral healthcare. Early intervention is critical and
(DeVon), Trauma Response for Teachers
, would prepare teachers to use evidence-based trauma informed classroom instruction to recognize social, emotional, and behavioral reactions to trauma that may interfere with a student’s academic functioning. The curricula may include training on recognizing the signs of social, emotional, and behavioral reactions to trauma, as well as the potential impacts of trauma. Practical recommendations for running a trauma informed classroom and avoiding re-victimization in schools would be included.
Certainly, trauma has a broad and lasting impact. According to the IYI Kids Count data, 47% of students in Indiana have experienced one or more adverse childhood experiences (ACES). Hoosier students have a higher prevalence of ACES than the national average and critically, children who live in poverty are three times more likely than their peers to experience trauma. Irrespective of income, Black and Hispanic youth are nearly twice as likely as their White peers to experience trauma.
Adverse childhood experiences are also associated with increased bullying, behavior problems, and physical illnesses. For every increase in the ACES score, the risk for alcohol and tobacco use is greater. It is estimated that 56% of substance use can be attributed to adverse childhood experiences. Even into adulthood, ACES can have a negative impact on physical and emotional health. At least 5 out of 10 leading causes of death are associated with ACES, and a high ACES score is predictive of death nearly 20 years earlier on average than those without ACES. Clearly, prevention, early intervention, and treatment is key.
As children spend more awake time at school than in their own home, the school system does and should play an integral role in the social and emotional development of students. A trauma informed school approach creates a climate where student behaviors can be addressed with increased understanding and insight.
would help create supportive learning environments that promote the health and safety of students, while increasing improved academic achievement, a reduction in absences, detentions, and suspensions, and improved student retention and graduation rates.
Stephen C. McCaffrey, JD
President and CEO of Mental Health America of Indiana