Introduction and purpose

Trauma occurs when an external threat overwhelms a person’s ability to cope. Sources of trauma can include childhood emotional, physical, or sexual abuse; abandonment or neglect; sexual assault; domestic violence, witnessing a violent event; institutional abuse, natural disasters, racism/poverty, and many other circumstances.

Trauma informed practices are based on the recognition that nearly all people who come into contact with mental health and/or substance addiction systems, including peer support programs and services, are trauma survivors. Trauma-informed services and supports are based on the question “what happened to you?” instead of “what’s wrong with you?”

Trauma-informed practices, services, and supports share some fundamental principles and components. These include safety, choice, trustworthiness, collaboration, and empowerment. They are culturally sensitive and recognize the importance of culture in both trauma and in recovery. People working in a trauma-informed setting are knowledgeable about the prevalence and impact of trauma including historical trauma, its consequences, and how to assist people through the healing process. They continuously work on enhancing the environment, the provision of services, and are mindful about opportunities to educate others about trauma, and how to promote healing and reduce and eliminate re-traumatization for people receiving services, providers, and other stakeholders as appropriate.

Thank you for taking the time to fill out this brief survey. Your responses will help the National Center for Trauma-Informed Care to assess the level of trauma-informed practice in peer-run organizations. The survey is also designed to get a sense of what gaps exist and what training or technical assistance needs peer-run organizations may have.