Authors: Kylie Fitzmaurice, Matt Cogin
Event: 2017 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Social Justice, Comorbidity, Reducing Stigma and Discrimination, Trauma-informed care, Community, Culture, Society
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: The Speak Out Dual Diagnosis Team at Weave Youth and Community Services works with young people aged 12 to 28 years experiencing dual diagnosis. 70% of our clients are Aboriginal young people and most have experienced complex childhood trauma. We work from a person centred, strengths based and trauma informed practice to offer a diverse and extensive range of programs that allow our clients to work intensively on their mental health and AOD challenges while engaging in other meaningful and empowering activities. Stigma is reduced, connection is enhanced and healing is promoted in our innovative and unique program.
This paper will explore how Speak Out empowers young people to make positive changes to their lives. Our clients are enormously resilient young people whose mental health and AOD challenges are coping strategies that have helped them survive horrific events. Unresolved trauma will lead to maladaptive coping strategies like chronic AOD use, long-term disease, disability, chronic social problems and early death (Felitti & Anda, 1998). The resolution of trauma will lead to a reduction in AOD and mental health related harms (Courtois & Ford, 2009; Kezelman & Stavropoulos, 2012). We must provide young people with a safe space to address their experiences of trauma.
Learning Objective 1: The audience will gain a broader understanding of person centred, strengths based and trauma informed care and they will see how this is practiced creatively and well in a youth service setting. The audience will be reminded of the importance of dual diagnosis care for people experiencing coexisting mental health and alcohol and other drug challenges. We cannot work with one and not the other.
Learning Objective 2: Trauma informed care is the buzz word of the moment and can be the umbrella under which all government and NGO mental health and alcohol and other drug services work. We all have our part to play in providing support to people experiencing mental health and AOD issues, and trauma informed practices will enhance and streamline our care. Trauma informed care should inform all of our work as we seek to assist those in need.
Courtois, C.A. & Ford, J.D. (2009). Treating Complex Traumatic Stress Disorders: An Evidence Based Guide. New York: The Guildford Press.
Felitti, Vincent J. & Anda, R.F. (1998). “Relationship of Childhood Abuse and Household Dysfunction to Many of the Leading Causes of Death in Adults: The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study”. American Journal of Preventative Medicine, 14, 4, 245-258.
Kezelman, C.A. & Stavropoulos, P.A. (2012). The Last Frontier: Practice Guidelines for Treatment of Complex Trauma and Trauma-Informed Care and Service Delivery. Sydney: UNSW Press.