S68: Trauma-informed care – a paradigm shift or a band aid on a broken system?

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By September 26, 2017 No Comments

Authors: Kath Sellick

Year: 2017

Event: 2017 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Service Systems, Delivery, Implementation,Research & Evaluation Informing Practice,Change, Innovation, Reform,Trauma-informed care

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

Abstract: Trauma-informed care was initially framed as a much needed paradigm shift in health and welfare service delivery (Bloom, 1997; Harris & Fallot, 2001). Through positioning trauma at the heart of how consumers are understood and how services are delivered, trauma-informed care aimed to radically change services to better meet the needs of trauma survivors. This paper will evaluate the degree to which this paradigmatic change is occurring within the Australian mental health system with consideration of findings from a research project that investigated how services are responding to sexual abuse survivors who hear voices.

This project revealed that whilst many professionals are attempting to consider the role of trauma in their practice, they are faced with limitations in the systemic environment. These include a lack of accessible trauma specific services, a lack of integration between trauma and mental health services, and a lack of ability to respond sensitively to sexual abuse survivors who are in crisis. This raises questions about the effectiveness of implementing trauma-informed care within mental health services when there is a systemic lack of ability to meet the complex needs of trauma survivors.

Learning Objectives
Learning Objective 1: The audience will gain an understanding of some of the systemic issues that impact on the effective implementation of trauma-informed care.

Learning Objective 2: This paper aims to enrich the discussion around the implementation of trauma-informed care within mental health services.

Bloom, S. (1997). Creating Sanctuary. New York: Routledge.
Harris, M., & Fallot, R. D. (2001). Envisioning a trauma-informed service system: A vital paradigm shift. New Directions for Mental Health Services, 2001(89), 3–22.

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