Developing a trauma informed community of action

19th December 2022

Introduction to the community

This community is an informal and diverse group of clinicians, managers, researchers and people with lived experience of trauma. It exists as a space to share good practice towards addressing trauma in public services more effectively. It supports the emergence of this approach via activities and products that bring people together.

The community has grown from a personal list of 50 requests for a visit to see a programme of change within a large MH Trust to a network of almost 1000 people.

What I noticed was that the people asking to visit, were also doing some good innovative work themselves. I wondered how to bring those ideas together and digest what the common features may be that indicate successful traction. An invited group of almost 100 people were brought together for a summit in March 2019. They brought with them their diverse examples of good practice. Using a methodology developed for the day (Open Narrative Enquiry), the group rapidly extracted factors of success. The seven factor implementation guide emerged from that day and can be viewed here:

Trauma Informed Approach is a system-wide approach to addressing the adversity that underlies much suffering and its impact on relationships.

It is a system that is guided by knowledge of what is needed for healing from emotional and psychological wounds. It has relevance to everyone in the system through the promotion of safe, open trusting alliances.

As such it works to create psychologically healthy and rewarding places of work that can adequately address the needs of people who come for help. It also focuses its efforts to prevent harm for people using the service, including that harm caused by services in their efforts to manage risk . 

Reference: Developing Real World systems capability in trauma informed care, learning from good practice (Kennedy, A p,4 2020)

Why trauma informed care is important

Trauma informed approaches to care are important because it puts the patient’s lived experience at the centre of the healing process and focuses on building support for the patient based on engaging with the complexity of that lived experience. It is referred to in:

  1. NHS Long-Term Plan 2019 , in relation to providing TiC for at-risk youth and/or involved with the justice system, as well as being a part of new primary and community care for adults with severe mental illness
  2. NHS Mental Health Implementation Plan 2019/20 – 2023/24 in relation to adults with severe mental illness getting more control over their care, and to support measures for rough sleepers

As a result, we had support from central NHS-E to set up the community via the NHS Futures collaboration platform. This allows the sharing of documents and ideas. The FutureNHS workspace is well used for providing and accessing documents and other media. 66 documents/items of media have been made available across 10 subject folders and, in total in the first 18 months, these documents have been downloaded 1253 times and previewed 2551 times.

Trauma informed care resources

Since then the developing network of people had to come together online via webinars throughout the pandemic. We covered a large number of topics highlighting new ways of doing things under this umbrella term of a trauma informed approach:

Responding to the psychological aftermath of the pandemic

Inequality and Discrimination

Older People and Trauma Informed Practice (Care homes and the isolation of the shielding population)

Embedding Trauma Informed Care in transformed models of community mental health services for people with a complex needs associated with those given a diagnosis of personality disorder

Facilitating lived experience leadership in planning and delivery of mental health services

Trauma Informed Approaches to working with Children and Young People

Exploring trauma informed approaches in mental health inpatient settings

Research and evaluation of trauma informed approaches

Trauma Informed Approaches to Staff Wellbeing

Trauma Informed Peer Support

Exploring Trauma and Mental Health

A Systems Level Approach to Trauma Informed Care

Launch of Open Narrative System

Evidence-based trauma-informed primary care and community mental health care: where are we at?

You can find out more about out Trauma Informed Care – Innovation Library NENC Innovation Library NENC

Or join via NHS FUTURES