In creating trauma-informed schools, ideally all students are being educated in safe and supportive ways that nurture their abilities to thrive. In addition, the realities of the world indicate that students will experience trauma and some will struggle with the impacts.
When students have been identified as struggling with the impacts of trauma and experiencing symptoms of PTSD, complex PTSD, depression, anxiety and other mental health concerns, they may benefit from more targeted support services.
Support services for students that are experiencing distress include:
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Support groups
- Peer health groups
Examples of Evidence-Based Individual & Group Interventions With Adolescents
CBITS – Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools
TGCTA – Trauma and Grief Component Therapy for Adolescents
S.E.L.F. Group Curriculum – Safety, Emotion, Loss, and Future
Circle of Hope – A Guide for Conducting Effective Psychoeducational Support Groups from the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs
Practices for Trauma Interventions
Having consistent meetings and collaboration with school staff regarding timing, location, and the purpose of therapy groups is important to be able to ensure buy-in from the education staff. This allows for more consistency in the services provided.
Communicating with the school administrators around plans for screening and trauma interventions creates the opportunity to problem solve potential barriers before they get in the way.
Hire staff that reflect the students served as much as possible. Students from the YMEC project talked about the importance of having male counselors that were authentic, genuine and interactive.
|Students who participated in the CBITS therapy groups in middle schools in Oakland reported the program helped them with a variety of resilience factors and academic behaviors, including feeling safe about talking about their problems, feeling like they had an adult to turn to, learning positive ways to let their feelings out, feeling less nervous or anxious, and staying in school.
|At one site, the Clinic Coordinator prepared and planned social/emotional groups to support students who were unable to receive individual or group support from Frick Health and Wellness Center Behavioral Health Counselor due to the number of students being referred for services and many students being on a waitlist.
|A participant of a group for young men of color said, “Whenever I’m stressing, I have someone to talk to and they have helped me focus on my schoolwork.”
|Staff of a group for young men of color found that the most successful evidence based intervention was the S.E.L.F. Group Curriculum because it was flexible, culturally competent, and had components – goal setting, decision making, team building, healing from trauma, life skills, and planning for the future – that met the needs of the students.