​At a glance

“Trauma-informed services do no harm i.e. they do not re-traumatise or blame victims for their efforts to manage their traumatic reactions, and they embrace a message of hope and optimism that recovery is possible. In trauma-informed services, trauma survivors are seen as unique individuals who have experienced extremely abnormal situations and have managed as best they could”. (Dr Cathy Kezelman)

Trauma-informed care is based on the understanding that:

  • a significant number of people living with mental health conditions have experienced trauma in their lives
  • trauma may be a factor for people in distress
  • the impact of trauma may be lifelong
  • trauma can impact the person, their emotions and relationships with others.

Trauma is defined by the impact that an experience has had on the individual rather than by the event itself.

- A person with lived experience of a mental health condition


 Core trauma-informed principles:

  • Safety – emotional as well as physical e.g. is the environment welcoming?
  • Trust – is the service sensitive to people’s needs?
  • Choice – do you provide opportunity for choice?
  • Collaboration – do you communicate a sense of ‘doing with’ rather than ‘doing to’?
  • Empowerment – is empowering people a key focus?
  • Respect for Diversity – do you respect diversity in all its forms?
    (Blue Knot Foundation)

Trauma-informed approaches do not involve trying to distinguish “symptoms” from the impact of trauma – they recognise that “symptoms” are often responses to trauma.

- A person with lived experience of a mental health condition


Providing trauma-informed care: a case study of Weave Youth and Community Services
This video explains trauma-informed care and the importance of personalised support when delivering this care.
Type: Video
Viewing time: 3:26 minutes
Produced by: Mental Health Commission of NSW

Supporting Recovery
This video explains the effect trauma can have, from a lived experience perspective, and the core trauma-informed principles.
Type: Video | Closed captions
Viewing time: 10.24 minutes
Produced by: Blue Knot Foundation

Supporting Recovery – For Friends And Family Of People Who Have Experienced Childhood Trauma (including abuse)
This fact sheet is a basic introduction to understanding and supporting recovery following childhood trauma.
Type: Fact sheet
Length: 2 pages
Produced by: Blue Knot Foundation

Having conversations about Trauma - Services
This fact sheet provides an overview of trauma, its effects, and how to relate to someone who may have experienced trauma.
Type: Fact sheet
Length: 4 pages
Produced by: Blue Knot Foundation

Recovery Oriented Language Guide
This guide contains a section on a trauma-informed recovery oriented approach.
Type: Guidance document
Length: 16 pages
Produced by: Mental Health Coordinating Council

Trauma-informed Care and Practice Organisational Toolkit (TICPOT)
For Managers - A quality improvement audit and implementation resource for developing a trauma-informed organisational and practice culture.
Type: Toolkit
Produced by: Mental Health Coordinating Council

Current as at: Friday 6 March 2020
Contact page owner: Mental Health Branch