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San Antonio has had an epic two years promoting trauma-informed care.
The nonprofit Voices for San Antonio launched Early Childhood Training Workshops. East Central ISD started trauma-informed support for students. San Antonio police notify schools when kids experience traumatic events.
The city itself, spurred by health director Dr. Colleen Bridger, created its first-ever coordinator for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and started a consortium for citywide trauma-informed care
Now the City of San Antonio Mayor and City Council and the Bexar County Judge and Commissioners Court are expected to approve a proclamation during the first week of May to declare May as Trauma-Informed Care Awareness Month.
“Through May, we will have ceremonials, proclamations, press conferences, Resilience film screenings, library displays of trauma informed books/videos and free trainings on trauma-informed care,” said Bridger, who led the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District before serving as interim assistant city manager.
An Epic Year for Trauma-Informed Care
Children who experience trauma—poverty, neglect, abuse, parental divorce and substance abuse, and other ACEs—are at risk for anxiety, withdrawal, poor school performance, substance abuse, even diabetes and cancer, according to a Salud America! Research Review.
That’s why San Antonio has made such a monumental push for trauma-informed care.
In addition to the big changes at the nonprofit, school, police, and city levels, things got really moving in May 2018 at the inaugural South Texas Trauma-Informed Care Conference, which featured national trauma-informed advocates Dr. Bruce Perry and Dr. Joe Hendershott.
The conference served as the first meeting of the Bexar County Trauma-Informed Care Consortium.
The consortium now features 250 community members who are committed to addressing the impact of childhood trauma and ACEs. The consortium tackles 11 key areas of trauma. The city’s new ACEs coordinator facilitates and supports the group.
Bridger, meanwhile, also has recommended focusing on childhood trauma as one of three priorities in Metro Health’s 2020-2022 Strategic Plan, according to the Rivard Report.
May as ‘Trauma-Informed Care’ Month
Trauma-informed care is growing in importance across the nation, too.
In 2018, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker declared May as Trauma-Informed Care Awareness Month in his state. California Assembly member Dr. Joaquin Arambula declared May 22 as Trauma-Informed Care Awareness Day in California.
Bridger and the Bexar County Trauma-Informed Care Consortium wanted to do something similar locally.
So, she, now interim Assistant City Manager, and her team drafted a proclamation. They worked with both the City and County to add the proclamation to their respective governing body’s agendas.
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg is expected to read the proclamation at a City Council meeting May 1. Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff will read the proclamation at a Commissioners Court meeting May 21.
Bridger and her team also helped plan activities to augment the proclamation:
- Training on ACEs, conscious discipline, mindfulness and more
- CEUs provided for Trauma Informed Therapy and Child Traumatic Stress and Behavior
- Multiple screenings of the film “Resilience”
- Health and wellness expo
- Trauma-informed care e-learning modules
- A press conference will be held May 8, at 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Central Library on 600 Soledad.
The South Texas Trauma Informed Care Consortium tri-chairs will be on Texas Public Radio’s The Source May 8 at 12 to 1 p.m.
Download the calendar, attend an event and spread the word.
The proclamation also commits the City and the County to continue to recognize May as Trauma-Informed Care Awareness Month in the future.
“It will really highlight the consortium and the need for Bexar County to be trauma-informed,” Bridger said.