This week Congressman Mike Gallagher (R-WI) introduced H. Res. 443 with Congressman Danny Davis (D-IL) recognizing the importance and effectiveness of trauma-informed care. Amidst the healthcare discussion and division among party lines, this resolution marks what may be the one nonpartisan health-related issue that policymakers can come together on.
The resolution is part of a bigger advocacy mission Wisconsin’s First Lady Tonette Walker has been on for quite some time. She works alongside her husband to trauma-inform their state - and the resolution resonates with Mrs. Walker’s intention to make Wisconsin the “first trauma informed state.” She also recently met with some of President Trump’s Cabinet members and spoke with members of Congress to ensure they understand the importance of a trauma-informed culture change process that recognizes strengths and resiliency and the support children, families, and adult survivors need to overcome trauma to lead healthy and positive lives.
“I have seen the significant difference a trauma informed approach can make — and not just in human services, but in schools and in the community,” commented First Lady Walker. “I started with Wisconsin and have been working to facilitate much more at the national level. This Resolution is one of many steps I hope our federal leadership will take to support trauma informed care throughout the country.”
There are three main items in the House resolution that:
1. recognizes the importance, effectiveness, and need for trauma informed care within the Federal Government, its agencies, and the United States Congress;
2. encourages the use and practice of trauma informed care within the Federal Government, its agencies, and the United States Congress; and
3. supports the designation of “National Trauma Awareness Month” and the designation of a “National Trauma Informed Awareness Day” during such month to highlight community resilience through trauma informed change.
Trauma and trauma informed approaches are nonpartisan and the expectation is for the resolution to have broad bipartisan support. Many national organizations are signing on to endorse this effort.
“This bill builds on established science and acknowledges the incredible innovations being developed in communities across the country,” noted Andrea Blanch, PhD, of the Campaign for Trauma Informed Policy and Practice. “It sets out a vision for how we could and should be addressing some of the most pressing social and health problems facing the nation. We applaud the federal government's leadership in this area.”
About the Author
Helga Luest currently works for a government contractor and manages a number of federal projects related to behavioral health, trauma, and violence prevention. Helga serves on the U.S. Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus Advisory Group and on the board of the Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice, a national nonprofit advancing the transformation of trauma informed practices throughout the United States. In 2010 she was awarded the Congressional Unsung Hero Award for her effective advocacy work on violence prevention and response. In her free time, Helga facilitates two social media groups called Trauma Informed where advocates, survivors, researchers, and other contribute content and commentary on issues related to trauma, prevention, and resilience - on Facebook & LinkedIn