The Context of NHS Safeguarding

Trauma informed practice

Person with problems, not a patient with an illness. What happened to you?

It is sometimes said that traumatic reactions are normal reactions to abnormal situations. As true as this statement is, it’s also true that individuals’ coping reactions post-trauma remain poorly understood, even by many of the people who are in the best positions to offer support and treatment to trauma victims. It is important for everyone to understand that victims of traumatic events, such as human trafficking, will not always react or behave in the way that we might expect.

There is now strong and growing evidence of a link between trauma and mental health, as well as evidence that the current mental health system can retraumatise trauma survivors. There is also emerging evidence that trauma-informed systems are effective and can benefit staff and trauma survivors.

Trauma informed approaches for mental health services are strengths-based and they reframe complex behaviour in terms of its function in helping survival and as a response to situational or relational triggers. Reframing refers to looking at, presenting, and thinking about a phenomenon in a new and different way, and replaces traditional individual/medical model approaches to madness and distress with a social perspective.

Key principles of trauma informed approaches as being: