National trauma informed community of action conference unites hundreds of professionals for first time in three years

More than 250 people working across the UK came together to share best practice and celebrate achievements at a milestone event in Newcastle hosted by the Trauma Informed Community of Action.

For the first time since before the pandemic, professionals from across the country enjoyed a day of networking and learning at the Trauma Informed Community Conference at St James’ Park.

The conference, which was sponsored by NHS England, and led by Dr Angela Kennedy, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, had Samantha Allen, Chief Executive at the North East & North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (NENC ICB), do an opening address. Other keynote speakers addressed issues of research, trauma therapies, the role of urban design and a call to action from lived experience.

There were a series of breakout sessions delivered by community members covering topics such as trauma in the body, creative and collective healing through culture and the arts, human rights, trauma and staff health, working with people in the justice system, Scotland’s whole system approach, London’s ACEs hub methodology and prompting conversations about abuse.

The Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC) supports the delivery of the national Trauma Informed Community of Action (TICA) network, which is led by the North East North Cumbria Mental Health Clinical Network.

Dr Angela Kennedy, TICA Lead, said: “After more than three years of not being able to bring the expansive trauma informed care community together, it was amazing to see friends and colleagues in one room again. This community centres on sharing and learning from others and while this good work has continued through numerous online TICA events over the last few years, the value and significance of working together face-to-face at this conference was incredible.”

Samantha Allen, Chief Executive at North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board, said: “We are a region with a proud history of health innovation so it was fantastic to welcome participants from a range of organisations, perspectives, and specialities in mental health, from across England and Scotland, who are working on trauma-informed developments. Bringing the community of people together is so important for sharing of ideas, as it aids learning and participants were able to take away lots of ideas to put into action.”

Trauma informed practice is an approach to health and care interventions which is grounded in the understanding that trauma exposure can impact an individual’s neurological, biological, psychological and social development. It seeks to find ways to heal or prevent further harm through relationships and whole system change.

As part of the NHS Long Term plan for mental health, there has been a move towards making all services and communities aware of what is needed to address the impact of trauma and adversity.

The national trauma informed community of action was set up to promote good evidenced practice, share learning, shape and inform national policy and networks of collaboration.

Read more about the AHSN NENC-supported Trauma Informed Care programme here