DHS News April 2014
Trainings Yield Great Results
A survey of participants in recent Trauma-Informed Care
trainings spearheaded by the Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) Bureau of
Children and Adolescents Mental Health Services, known as the Children’s Team,
shows that nearly all participants found the sessions to be extremely useful to
them. In addition, one hundred percent of the 80 professionals who participated
in three, two-day training sessions agreed with the survey question, “Training
content will help me to perform my role” in assisting adults and children.
The Trauma-Informed Care trainings have been conducted for the
past six years, with a total of 800 direct-care providers participating to date.
The trainings sprang from two conferences organized about seven years ago by
the Department of Human Services (DHS) OBH Children’s Team, headed by Administrator
Georgianne Palaoro; the Conference of
Allegheny Providers; Community Care Behavioral Health (CCBH); and Allegheny
Health Choices Inc.
Those conferences, which drew 600 attendees, were held when
it became apparent that more awareness was needed about the possible impact
trauma had on children’s mental health. Following the conferences, the
trainings were organized because stakeholders at the conferences said there was
a need for more in-depth education.
David Vereb, Quality Specialist on the OBH Children’s Team,
explained the trainings as a basic course that raises awareness of the need to
consider trauma when doing such work as service coordination, program intake or
helping to devise solutions for families. The trainings are not clinical
trainings; separate workshops that teach clinical interventions and techniques
are conducted once a year for clinicians. “It’s a mindset change. It’s digging
a little deeper and understanding the impact trauma can have, and discovering
there can be something behind behaviors,” David said.
The trainings are conducted by psychotherapist Sharon Sutton
at St. Paul of the Cross Monastery, South Side. Ms. Sutton is also an adjunct
professor at Chatham University and specializes in trauma therapy in her
“All of the feedback has been very positive,” David said.
“People say it’s very applicable to their work.” Ninety-four percent of survey
respondents said they would recommend the trainings to others and 99 percent
said the presenter seemed knowledgeable about the subject. Ninety-four percent
agreed that they learned something at the conferences that they can use in
their daily jobs.
Staff members from a wide variety of programs have attended
the conferences, including the OBH Student Assistant Program, Adult Justice
Related Services, Youth Support Partners, and Community Care Behavior Health. David
said beyond increasing awareness of Trauma-Informed Care, the trainings help to
build competence in the Allegheny County human services system.
For more on the Trauma-Informed Care trainings, contact David Vereb via email
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