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Highland Council To Implement Trauma Informed Practice

1st July 2022

At the first full Highland Council Committee meeting (30 June 2022), newly elected Members agreed that the Council will implement a trauma informed practice across all Council services.

It is estimated that around 60% of the UK population has experienced psychological trauma in their lifetime. For more vulnerable groups, including people in in-patient mental health, drug and alcohol services and the justice system, the prevalence is even higher. The 2019 Scottish Health Survey (external link) found that just over one in seven adults reported experiencing four or more adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).

Health, Social Care and Wellbeing Committee Chair, Cllr David Fraser said: "The Highland Council shares the ambitions of the Scottish Government and COSLA to develop a trauma informed workforce across Highland. The aim is to ensure we deliver services in ways which prevent further harm or re-traumatisation for those who have experienced trauma or adversity at any stage in their lives. Part of this will be identifying champions to help promote, oversee, and embed trauma informed systems and services across all parts of the organisation.

"While living through trauma is relatively common, the experience and its impact is often hidden. Although many people show remarkable resilience, it remains a fact that people who experience trauma are at higher risk of experiencing poorer outcomes at all stages of their lives, across physical and mental health, education, employment and wellbeing, if they do not have access to the right support at the right time, if needed. There is growing evidence that, where the impact of trauma on those affected is understood by staff, and systems are adapted accordingly, this can result in better outcomes for people affected by trauma. This is the reason why, as both an employer and public facing service, embedding trauma informed staff across all Council services is of vital importance."

Leader of the Council, Raymond Bremner said: "Responding to trauma is, now more than ever, a public health priority and a priority for the Council. COVID-19 and the restrictions put in place to contain the virus have significantly increased the risk of people experiencing trauma and re-traumatisation. This includes people living with domestic abuse or child abuse, facing poverty, financial hardship or unemployment, those facing severe/chronic illness, affected by suicide or sudden bereavement."

The implementation of the national trauma training programme provides information to support organisations, managers and workers to identify knowledge and skills requirements; training providers to develop evidence-based learning; and people affected by trauma to understand the support that they can receive. The national training plan sets out key principles and considerations for developing a trauma-informed workforce. The plan advises that in order for training to be successfully translated into practice, three areas must be considered:

Developing a competent workforce.
Ensuring organisational support for new skills and new ways of working.
Providing effective leadership to support embedding new skills.
By being trauma informed, the Council aims to improve service delivery by being more aware of potential barriers for those trying to access services and recognise the role in responding to this. Internally, trained trauma staff will support the wellbeing of colleagues by working in a trauma informed way.

The report can be read here -


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