As a nation, Ireland has shown great resilience and solidarity in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. As we look forward to COVID recovery, our schools, workplaces and communities will need to adjust to the new shape of society and life and Mental Health Ireland and Alcohol Action Ireland believe, now more than ever, investment in trauma-informed care and services will be required.
The NGOs are calling for a commitment from the new Irish Government that frontline public services starting with mental health, addiction, homeless and criminal justice become trauma-informed. Schools too must become a place that recognises young people’s trauma and teachers must be supported to nurture trauma-informed environments.
Trauma-informed practice practically means:
- integrating understanding of past and current experiences of trauma into all aspects of service delivery.
- Promoting resilience and eliminating stigmatising language.
- providing professionals with training in trauma to support recovery in families and communities.
- making people feel safe and in control in environments that do not retraumatise
Martin Rogan, CEO of Mental Health Ireland said: “Once we understand the impact of trauma and the shadow it can cast over people’s lives, we can better respond to their mental health needs. By acknowledging and gaining a new insight, even many years later, we can help to address the hurt, and learn to move forward. This is not about forgetting the experience, but rather making sense of it, integrating and reducing its power over us and our lives. This is never easy work, but never has to be faced alone and with support brings recovery and empowerment. We are calling for investment in trauma-informed care and practices as part of any new Programme for Government.”
Sheila Gilheany, CEO of Alcohol Action Ireland said: “We know with ambitious thinking and leadership, services can become trauma-informed. Our nearest neighbours Scotland have a national training plan in place to ensure that all frontline workers can recognise and deal with psychological trauma. Police, social workers and nurses were among the staff to benefit from the plan, which is being rolled out to all frontline workers. For all of this to come to fruition, a central driving force with funding is required at government level to work to embed the concept of trauma-informed services, creating a shared common language and understanding around the issue.”