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  • Become a Trauma Informed Organization

    Steps to support survivors of trauma.

    Behavioral health is key to your overall health. It includes how people think, feel and act. Simply put, investing in understanding the basics of personal trauma can help people—and organizations—treat people better.

    We can improve employee morale, serve customers with authentic care and get more joy out of work.   

    The first step is to learn what trauma is.


    Trauma is the reaction to a profoundly painful or stressful experience. Everyone deals with trauma in their own way. Trauma can influence the way you deal with life’s challenges. You can have trauma from events like:

    • Abuse (emotional, physical, sexual).
    • Neglect.
    • Domestic violence (observed or experienced).
    • Effects of poverty.
    • Separation from a loved one.
    • Natural or man-made disaster.

    Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are traumatic events experienced in childhood.


    Children less than 18 years old who experience trauma have greater risk for health concerns like:

    • Depression and anxiety.
    • Sexually transmitted diseases.
    • Cancer.
    • Substance use disorder.
    • Early death.

    These experiences can influence adult physical and behavioral health. Children who experience ACEs don’t always have poor outcomes, but positive experiences can help reduce the effects of ACEs. Learn more about ACEs.

    Trauma informed organization

    What can your organization do to reduce the effects of trauma? Focus on trauma informed care. Commit to compassion and effective practices. Help meet the need of people who may have a history of trauma.

    Your ability to connect with people in positive ways can help buffer the effects of trauma. Trauma informed organizations communicate, You matter.

    Trauma informed organizations:

    • Ask, “What happened to you?”—instead of “What’s wrong with you?”
    • Provide opportunities for professional development.
    • Promote recovery and resiliency.
    • Promote self-care.
    • Provide a safe environment.

    Assess trauma informed care in your organization. Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department is working toward a trauma informed approach.  We focus on internal organizational process, employee wellness, and customer service for all Pierce County residents. We:

    • Implement national Cultural Linguistic Appropriate Services (CLAS) standards—Improve the quality of services provided to all individuals, which will help reduce health disparities and achieve health equity. 
    • Create a workplace cultural shift through ACES and trauma informed trainings for staff—Because previous trauma influences relationships and daily life.
    • Promote Employee Assistance Program (EAP)—Resources to support employees including no charge mental health counseling.
    • Implement a customer service-focused expectation like greeting customers and helping them find their way to the location they need—Make every effort to treat everyone with kindness and respect.



    Contact Elizabeth Allen at