Trauma affects us all, directly or indirectly. Many people live with the ongoing effects of past and present overwhelming stress (trauma). Despite the large numbers of people affected, many of us often don’t think of the possibility that someone we meet, speak with or support may have experienced trauma. This makes us less likely to recognise it. Keeping the possibility of trauma on our radar means keeping the sensitivities and vulnerabilities of people who may be trauma survivors in mind. It means being respectful, acknowledging and understanding.
Having a basic understanding of how stress can affect any of us can help this process. Knowing this will make us less likely to fuel other people’s stress levels. This means paying attention to the way we engage with other people, as well as to ‘what’ we do. It also means thinking about what may have happened to someone, rather than judging what is ‘wrong’ with them.
Trauma often affects the way people approach potentially helpful relationships (Fallot and Harris, 2001). This is because many survivors feel unsafe. Many lack trust or live in fear. Becoming trauma-informed is about supporting people to feel safe enough in their interactions with services. To build trust, and help people overcome their fear and sense of betrayal. For more information go to www.blueknot.org.au.