Training Our Staff and the Community to Respond to Trauma with Care

Jun 21, 2020

The People Incorporated Training Institute was created to ensure that our staff have the training, resources, and tools to provide the best possible care. While it was founded to train our own staff, the high-quality trainings the Institute offers has attracted the attention of other mental health providers, community groups, local government and more, making the Training Institute a training provider of choice for the broader community.

One of the hallmarks of the Training Institute is its responsiveness to community needs. As the community tries to cope with the unjust death of George Floyd, we recognize that this kind of collective trauma sometimes shows up as mental illness.

“Community trauma is a shared trauma, and working in mental health is about stewardship of a shared trauma experience, between worker and client. However, for communities of color, it is much worse,” says Russ Turner, Director of People Incorporated’s Training Institute.

The Training Institute uses a trauma-informed care approach to help explain how mental illness shows up in our communities and clients right across all of our training curriculum. We expanded our definitions of trauma and talk very intentionally about collective trauma including inter-generational traumaWe lock in concepts of race, racism and discrimination right into the heart of the issue (which is trauma). Talking about this creates a feeling of discomfort in the classroom. Recognizing this discomfort and leaning in to it, rather than trying to get away from it, is an important part of the learning,” says Turner. 

The Training Institute’s Diversity and Culture series includes classes such as Cultural Perspectives, Culturally Responsive Practice and a Leadership class called Equity and Inclusion for Leaders.

“This material is difficult and time-consuming to create properly and skillfully, so we put a lot of resources into it. We hire external trainers to help us fill the large gaps that we, as white people, cannot do justice to. We did work in the same vein last year with similar mental health and trauma-related issues focusing on people who identify as LBGTQ+, working with two expert trainers from that community.” 

As People Incorporated delves deeper into ways we can be a more culturally-sensitive and equitable organization, we recognize that training and learning are a core part of those improvements. Donations in support of our Training Institute will help us develop more curriculum on topics such as Implicit Bias, how to talk about race, White Privilege, and more. Funds will also be used to contract with trainers of color to teach courses that help us better understand their perspectives and shape future curriculum. 

For more information on the Training Institute’s current course offerings, click here. 

To learn more about how you can support the Training Institute, contact us.