Aligning Resources Across Georgia To Support Resiliency
To Our Resilient Georgia Partners and Stakeholders:
We are excited to announce our next Lunch and Learn, focused on Mindful Self-Compassion for Leaders, taking place on August 18th from 12-1PM EST. The Lunch and Learn, which can be accessed through this Zoom link, will be led by our Savannah Regional Grantee Coalition leads, Vira Salzburn. Leading Others through Mindful Self-Compassion is designed to help leaders discover new ways of relating to themselves which can promote invaluable growth and development. If you are unable to attend the upcoming Lunch and Learn, consider registering for one of these MSC training sessionsWe also highly recommend checking out the Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) series by another Resilient Georgia Regional Grantee Coalition, the Cobb Collaborative.

If you would like to attend or present at one of our upcoming Lunch and Learns please contact us at

Our Resilient Georgia Training Road Map helps promote educational training opportunities about ACE's prevention and trauma. Take this short survey by August 25th to help us update the map to accurately promote existing training opportunities. Please also share this survey with any partners that are offering trauma informed training opportunities. We want to make sure we collect as much information as possible and continue to celebrate the work being done in our state! To add some summer fun, we will do a random drawing so one lucky responder will win a $100 Visa gift card!  
Athletes Share Our Struggles
With all eyes on the Olympics, world-class athletes are reminding us that taking care of our mental health should always come first. We celebrate the decision of decorated American gymnast Simone Biles to withdraw from the team final competition after experiencing immense stress and anxiety. Following this announcement, Biles was met with an outpour of public support from fans and fellow athletes, including former Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps. We would like to add our admiration for this choice, which helps decrease stigma around asking for help and prioritizing wellbeing. We’d also like to amplify the work of non-profit Morgan’s Message, who is fighting for mental health awareness and resources within athlete organizations. Finally, take a moment to watch this exciting and heartwarming video of this 18-year old Tunisian Olympic swimmer who unexpectedly won gold after having the slowest qualifying time. The video is a wonderful representation of our ability as humans to respond to our circumstances with diligence and come out on top.
We would also like to highlight several resources and news updates:

  • Check out this video, created by Resilient Georgia grantee Vashti Center in an effort to promote their awesome youth-centered community trainings on ACE’s, sexual abuse prevention, and supporting kids through connection.
  • As part of the Georgia System of Care State Plan, the Interagency Directors Team compiled this list of resources which includes interventions, programs, and fact sheets for behavioral health providers and consumers.
  • Atlanta-based Best Fit is a one stop shop for college students seeking assistance with meals, health, technology, and more.
  • Morehouse School of Medicine is currently recruiting participants for Project GRIT, which aims to provide Black and African-American women with PTSD tools they need to build resilience and live healthy lives.

Going back to school means being prepared: buying supplies, packing lunches, and getting our kids’ thinking caps on tight. In preparation, our wonderful educators are having important conversations about keeping kids safe and promoting resilience in education settings. Be sure to register for Georgia Appleseed Center’s next panel event, hosted on September 2 at 6PM, which will focus on what school employees in Georgia are doing to expand learning recovery efforts. Dr. Jennifer Holton, assistant professor at Emory University, discusses what schools and other organizations can do to be aware of issues of emotional distress and minimize the damage on student experiences this year. This school reopening toolkit details best practices and resources for addressing potential adversity caused or exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as food and housing insecurity, as well as mental illness. Additionally, this free yoga and mindfulness-based toolkit can teach educators bodily interventions for stress and anxiety in the classroom.

We’d also like to highlight a few organizations doing widespread work to support adults and their kids. Alliance for a Healthier generation has numerous youth-centered trainings that both educators and parents can benefit from, while Strong4Life has convenient “Back to School Tip Sheets” as well as the library of pages and videos intended to support individuals in the back to school months. We hope the content we’ve shared helps promote a smooth transition for all our resilient students in Georgia!

Lastly, we are excited to announce that our YouTube channel is up and running! Please take a moment to subscribe for regular content on trauma-informed care and ACE’s prevention. 


Brenda Fitzgerald, MD
Executive Board Chair
Emily Anne Vall, PhD
Executive Director
Regional Grantee Coalition Spotlight
Resilient SouthWest Georgia: Who We Are

The Success For Life Community Initiative (SFL) is our upstream move to tackle the root cause of the many challenges faced by our community. The goal is to dramatically improve the health and well-being of our community by addressing ACEs issues. Partnering with over 30 organizations and agencies across Southwest GA, United Way is working to raise awareness of the effects of trauma, and to reduce its incidence and impact, as well as build resilience in individuals, families, and our community.

Coalition Geographic Service Area:
Colquitt, Decatur, Early, Grady, Miller, Mitchell, Seminole, Thomas
Tell us about an innovative community partnership that your coalition is actively engaged in to address the behavioral health needs of your region?

On June 9th , SFL partnered with Work Source Georgia and the Chatham County Safety Net Planning Council on a 90-minute discussion on building awareness and providing basic principles of self-compassion and mindfulness. Participants included youth serving professionals, faith based, law enforcement, K 12/College, Child Welfare, and Sports professionals.
What are some accomplishments you would like to highlight?

The SFL community initiative has provided awareness opportunities across multiple sectors to become one of the leading resources as it relates to Trauma/ACEs in the region. Attendees at these sessions have included K-12/college education professionals (60%), youth-serving professionals (35%), law enforcement professionals (30%, sports professionals (30%), faith-based professionals (30%) and more.
Sector Highlight:
Imagining Trauma-Informed Law Enforcement
After a year of heavy police scrutiny, resignations and burnout rates in police departments have risen exponentially. In addition to being a cultural response to notable inequities in policing, these changes may represent a mixture of pandemic-induced stress and mental health issues for officers such as PTSD, anxiety, and depression, as well as suicide risk. In some cases, officers - in this case a dispatcher - are able to navigate the high-risk scenarios they face with bravery and efficiency. Despite a number of apparent successes, the inherent trauma of this work often severely impacts both the officers and the civilians involved in these dangerous and fast-paced situations. This article describes the modern challenges law enforcement are facing and discusses the need for more mental health resources for the community along with the officers, with the hope being that these services can result in a more effective and equitable law enforcement system. 

In many instances, PTSD can foster a bodily response of being alert to threats which encourages officers to be over-reactive in scenarios that may not even be violent to begin with, but can quickly become so. Initiatives to specifically train police officers in these types of encounters are now widespread thanks to the efforts of state-wide organizations such as the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The Savannah Police department is following their lead by increasing police training for de-escalation strategies under a new Behavioral Health Unit focused on mental health related instances. The Johns Creek and Brookhaven Police Departments have also recognized the need for mental health services in policing. They have recently hired a mental health professional to assist the officer with calls from or about someone in a mental health crisis. This article discusses how integrating the perspective of a clinician into police interactions can transform interactions between people in need and the institutions that intend to serve them. 
Other public service organizations are imagining the future of policing, not only in scenarios of mental health, but also substance abuse, homelessness, and poverty. Listen to NPR’s WABE speak with the Atlanta-based Policing Alternatives and Diversion (PAD) Initiative, who believe that these unique situations need to be met with empathetic solutions, not punishment. By recognizing the impact of mental health on systems of policing and incarceration, Georgia is equipping itself for less tragic deaths and mistrust between communities and nearby police departments. In addition to harm-reduction, these approaches can increase the wellbeing of police officers and civilians by offering life-altering resources and support. 

To learn more about how to incorporate a trauma-informed framework into a range of institutions, take a look at our training roadmap, which offers sector specific trainings and resources for your convenience.
Positive and Adverse Childhood Experiences (PACEs)
Our goal at Resilient Georgia is to create a world where trauma-informed care is the norm. Spreading information about ACE's is one of the most simple and effective ways to make an impact in this way. We encourage our readers to widely share this accessible yet comprehensive infographic, which describes the nature, occurrence rates, and effects of ACE’s. We also love the new Sesame Street docuseries, which highlights the diverse perspectives of children encountering adversities such as parental incarceration, climate displacement, war, and homelessness. 

For those of us already well familiar with trauma-informed care, it's encouraging to witness the progress being made in so many sectors. For example, in Jacksonville, FL high levels of ACE’s have heavily impacted students’ abilities to thrive in school. Educators are now recognizing the toll of ACE’s and incorporating trauma-informed practices that can help buffer the impact of adversity on a student’s life. To learn more about the adopted practices and their effects, check out this case study on Jacksonville Heights Elementary. Additionally, a new policy statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics is emphasizing the research suggesting that a stable relationship with a trusted adult can buffer the impact of trauma. Finally, we want to celebrate this recently implemented program at Emory, titled “Becoming a Resilient Scientist”, that offers students in science-oriented careers the opportunity to candidly discuss issues around stress, emotions, and wellness. While much work remains ahead of us, we hope that recognizing these achievements encourages our readers to continue pushing for change in the behavioral health space.
COVID-19 Resources
  • With COVID-19 cases on the rise again in many states, it is crucial to remain informed about the current risks of the prominent Delta variant. This Yale Medicine article describes the top “5 Things To Know About the Delta Variant

  • Despite wide access to COVID-19 vaccines, only 1 in every 4 eligible teens has received the shot. In an attempt to dispel misinformation, NPR article highlights the answers to common questions teens may have about the vaccine. 

  • The American Public Health Association series, “Barbershop Medicine”, highlights two doctors as they bring light to barriers Black Americans face when it comes to healthcare. The first episode features an honest group discussion about healthcare disparities in the time of COVID, while the second shows a conversation between the doctors and Dr. Fauci about strategies for addressing misinformation and distrust between communities of color and the healthcare complex.
Racial Equity Resources
  • Clark Atlanta University is the recipient of a $1.8 million grant intended to support Black students working towards a behavioral health degree. Enthusiastic congratulations to Drs. Shell and Jones for this well-deserved reward, which will help lessen financial barriers for students at CAU.

  • A new study conducted by the Thrive Research Lab at Emory, in collaboration with Ser Familia, assessed the impact of COVID-19 on undocumented Latinx families. They found that the impact was quite high in some areas - 80% of families reported food insecurity, while 65% of parents reported high levels of depressive symptoms.
  • The Atlanta-Journal Constitution breaks down a study suggesting that language barriers are a key factor in access to healthcare services. This finding may partially explain racial inequities within the healthcare system.
Be sure to read additional resources on the topics above, and more, here.
“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them” 
― Maya Angelou