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Trauma Informed Network Improves Treatment For Behavioral Health Consumers

Armen Hareyan's picture

Past physical or sexual abuse or other traumas must be considered when treating people with mental health or substance abuse disorders, according to the new Trauma Informed Network (TIN).

The Division of Behavioral Health in the Department of Health and Human Services contracted with the Nebraska Coalition of Women's Treatment to create Trauma Informed Nebraska, a statewide, consumer-driven, recovery-oriented project.

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"What I like about having a trauma-informed network is that it focuses on wellness and recovery for trauma survivors, their families and treatment providers," said Scot Adams, director of the Division. "It engages the patient in the treatment process. It's an opportunity to provide treatment in a different way."

Providers need to be sensitive to the effects that trauma has on clients. Services should be provided in a way that avoids retraumatization and helps consumers. For example, just watching someone being physically restrained can retraumatize a person, even years later, according to Adams.

"We understand the toll that violence takes in people's lives," said Adams, director of the Division. "Trauma-informed services factor in the impact past traumas continue to have on someone's life as mental health and addiction treatment is provided."

The Division's new Trauma-Informed Policy puts in writing the expectation about how services should be provided. The policy will go to Regional Centers, the six Behavioral Health Regions and all state-funded providers, along with a self-assessment tool to help identify gaps in services.