Letter to the Editor | Work toward resilience by understanding trauma

By Samyra Leonard

In Champaign and Urbana, many residents have experienced some form of community violence that has impacted them. There are efforts in the C-U neighborhoods that aim to address violence and trauma, like the Community Violence Response Team and C-U Neighborhood Champions. However, all residents and organizations need to be involved in addressing community violence.

Community violence is recognized as a public health problem by the World Health Organization and can impact your social, emotional, behavioral and cognitive development. Chronic exposure to instances of community violence traumatizes individuals and families.

One powerful way to address community violence is for the community to become trauma-informed. Tarpon Springs has stated that being a trauma-informed community means “there is a strategic approach and commitment that links all community sectors together around understanding how personal adversity affects the community’s well-being and people, organizations and systems institute resilience-building practices to no longer traumatize individuals and build a healthier community.”

The first step for community groups and organizations to work toward resilience-building is by becoming trained on understanding trauma and learning how to implement trauma-informed principles into their practices and procedures. Additionally, they should work with their neighborhoods and clients to address intergenerational trauma, provide trauma and complex post-traumatic stress disorder treatment for individuals, especially youth, and build networks within all sectors education, faith, housing, health care, business and law enforcement to create a unified definition of what it means to be a trauma-informed community.

Samyra is a senior in the Social Work.

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