An Important Message from the WestCare Foundation
The past few days have been very emotional as our country has witnessed more horrific acts resulting in tragic deaths and injury. The impacts of these incidents go well beyond those directly involved. With each incident that we hear about or see repeatedly on television or on social media, the impact is felt by each of us in some way.
I encourage you to be mindful and sensitive to the needs or your clients, your colleagues and staff, your families and yourselves. Remember that as human services professionals, we need to be mindful and knowledgeable about the impacts of racism.
Racism has been shown to be processed in our brains as trauma and when people of color are exposed to repetitive acts of racism, a form of emotional or psychological post-traumatic stress can develop. Research is clear that being a victim of or a witness to extreme violence in the community, including exposure to gang-related violence, interracial violence, police and citizen altercation, and other forms of destructive individual and group violence is a recognized form of trauma.
Seeing these events, or hearing about them and the reactions to them, often bring up previous hurts, pains or emotional injuries. Post-traumatic stress can be marked by an acute state of fear, anxiety, and hopelessness. These are signs to watch for and pay attention to.
Racism itself brings out many emotions in all of us for various reasons. Our histories and belief systems shape our opinions, thoughts and even the words we speak. When those are not in alignment with others, it can often bring about tension or disruptions in some of our group living settings or work environments. Please be extra sensitive to these issues in the coming days and weeks and take care of each other.
I encourage all staff to review the resources about trauma-informed care available on our website. We are working quickly to add additional information. The National Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services website offers some helpful information, http://www.samhsa.gov/trauma-violence
Our WestCare family supports our communities of color who are experiencing hurt and trauma from recent events. We also acknowledge and support law enforcement officers and their families in Dallas and across the nation. July is National Minority Health Month and WestCare is committed to addressing the needs of minority or non-majority populations. I hope that locally, all of our WestCare programs will join in conducting activities in support of Minority Health Month.
Toll-Free Counseling Hotline for Grief and Trauma Issue Associated with Orlando incident: (800) 327-7451
Training Resources and Quick Facts
Crisis Text Line
: Text START to 741-741
Disaster Distress Helpline
: (800) 985-5990
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
: (800) 273-8255
The Trevor Lifeline
: (866) 488-4386 (Note: Crisis and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth up to 24
LGBT Information and Advocacy
Information and Support on Stress, Grief and Trauma after a Disaster
Information and Support on Substance Abuse and Disasters