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Student shares how she is learning to overcome trauma during Trauma-Informed Care Awareness Month

Before coming to the Healy-Murphy Center, student Syese Jackson admittedly did not know how to deal with trauma. She is now learning to communicate more effectively and practicing tactical solutions for dealing with negative experiences. It is an approach called trauma-informed care; it is changing the way administrators and educators support youth at this Bexar County alternative education school.

The Healy-Murphy Center recently achieved Level 1 Trauma-Informed Care Certification with help from University Health’s Institute for Trauma-Informed Care and the South Texas Trauma-Informed Care Consortium.

“I’ve seen my campus transform tremendously. Our school allows us to uproot causes of trauma,” Jackson said. “When we come to this school, and they implement positive reinforcements, it allows us to take those traits and, not only include them in our education, but in our life as well.”

The youth attending this special accredited program come from a variety of backgrounds. However, they all have one thing in common – experiencing trauma. Adverse Childhood Experiences, known as ACEs, include a variety of traumas, such as physical, verbal or sexual abuse and physical or emotional neglect. The center’s administrators, teachers, counselors and board of directors realize the lasting impact ACEs can have on youth and they believe change is possible.

“The Healy-Murphy Center’s holistic approach to education, health care and mental health gives students hope by breaking the cycle of trauma. We serve youth with a compassionate mindset,” said Douglas Watson, executive director of the Healy-Murphy Center.

“I congratulate our team for achieving Level 1 Trauma-Informed Care Certification. This recognition reinforces our continued commitment to helping students learn intervention behaviors that will help them become their best selves,” said Watson.

The comprehensive range of services helps students not only overcome trauma but also to thrive after graduation. Six Healy-Murphy Center graduates now work at the school, giving back to the organization that supported them as teens.

“When we get into the real world, we take what we learned here and implement it and we see those solutions make a positive impact later on in life,” Jackson said.

May is Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) Awareness Month. Everyone can learn more about trauma-informed care by participating in events hosted by the Institute for Trauma-Informed Care at University Health.

Review the event calendar on the University Health website for more information.

“Being trauma-informed means that we are changing the way people approach each other. We’re changing the narrative from ‘What’s wrong with you?’ to ‘What happened to you?’ as we support the community with education and training,” said Belinda Garcia-Rattenbury, executive director of University Health’s Institute for Trauma-Informed Care.

Representatives from the Healy-Murphy Center and University Health’s Institute for Trauma Informed Care are available for interviews. The Ecumenical Center is the certifying entity for the consortium and the institute at University Health trains organizations on trauma-informed practices. The consortium is a collaboration between the City of San Antonio Metro Health, Voices for Children and The Children’s Shelter. They work together to educate the community about trauma, raise awareness of being trauma-informed and help build a resilient community by mitigating the effects of damage from trauma.

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