Indian Health Manual: Chapter 37: Trauma Informed Care
Source: Indian Health Service: The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives
Resource Type: Documents and Publications
Focus Population: BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), People who have experienced Trauma
Topics: Culturally Specific Strengths and Resilience, Experience of Racism, Discrimination, and Oppression, Trauma-informed
The purpose of this chapter is to provide guidance to Indian Health Service (IHS) hospitals, health centers, clinics, and health stations (hereafter referred to as facilities) in delivering trauma-informed care services. Simultaneously preparing our workforce to be trauma informed, and promoting self-care to prevent and treat secondary traumatic stress, also known as vicarious trauma, which can lead to compassion fatigue and staff burnout. Background. The IHS acknowledges the role that trauma, resulting from violence, victimization, colonization, and systemic racism plays in the lives of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations, specifically AI/AN youth who are 2.5 times more likely to experience trauma compared to their non-Native peers. Delivering trauma-informed services requires an understanding of the profound neurological, biological, psychological, spiritual, and social effects trauma and violence can have on individuals, families, and communities. The IHS workforce must be aware of the high prevalence of trauma in AI/AN populations, and trained to respond effectively to this trauma, which affects many individuals who seek services in IHS facilities. It is also important to recognize, and build on the resiliency of AI/AN people, which comes, at least in part, from their cultures and spirituality. Creating policy and services that support a trauma-informed perspective which appreciates the frequency of trauma, understands the impact at the individual and community level, and supports appropriate response is critical for improving the many health conditions experienced by the AI/AN population. Through the use of trauma-informed policies, practices and interventions, IHS can enhance its capacity for promoting relational well-being and improve patient outcomes by increasing understanding of the direct impact traumatic experiences have on a patient’s health and how the patient engages in healthcare.