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What is Trauma?

According to the SAMHSA’s Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma-Informed Approach (2014), trauma results from an event, series of events, or set of circumstances experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life-threatening with lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being.

Examples of possible traumatic events:

  • Community and/or Domestic Violence
  • Serious Accident, Injury or Illness
  • Victim and/or Witness to Violence
  • Homelessness
  • Substance Use Disorder (personal or familial)
  • Oppression/Racism
  • Sudden or Violent Loss of a Loved One
  • Inability to access resources and/or poverty
  • Natural and/or Manmade Disasters
  • Abuse
  • Neglect
  • Terrorism and/or War
  • Vicarious Trauma
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences or ACEs
  • Any other event(s) that causes ongoing lasting adverse effects that impact an individual’s functioning

Trauma Facts:

  • One out of every four children attending school has been exposed to a traumatic event that can affect learning and/or behavior.
  • We all have the ability to overcome traumatic experiences because of resilience. Resilience can be learned, developed, and grown over time. Learn more about resilience here.
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs, are traumatic experiences that occur within childhood (0-17years). Learn more about ACEs here.