Invisible Wounds: Columbine to Sandy Hook

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Invisible Wounds: Columbine to Sandy Hook

  1. 1. INVISIBLE WOUNDS: COLUMBINE TO SANDY HOOK Marleen Wong, Ph.D. LCSW Associate Dean and Clinical Professor University of Southern California School of Social Work Principal Investigator, USC/LAUSD/RAND/UCLA Trauma Services Adaptation Center for Resilience Hope and Wellness in Schools and Communities National Child Traumatic Stress Network
  2. 2. Trauma Services Adaptation Center for Resiliency, Hope and Wellness in Schools • LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT – MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES AND CRISIS INTERVENTION • RAND HEALTH – LOS ANGELES, PITTSBURGH AND WASHINGTON DC • UCLA HEALTH SERVICES RESEARCH CENTER/GEFFEN MEDICAL SCHOOL • UCLA ANXIETY DISORDERS CLINIC • USC SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK
  3. 3. Events of the Last 20 Years That Changed the Culture of Education • • • • • • • • 1990-2009 School Shootings – 500 1995 - Oklahoma City 2001 - 9/11 Terrorist Attacks NYC/DC 2005 – Hurricanes Katrina and Rita 2007 – Virginia Tech 2011 – Gabby Giffords – Tucson, AZ. 2012 – Sandy Hook, Newton CT 2013 – Student Suicide at School, MI
  4. 4. Since Sandy Hook • In the first week after the Newtown, Conn., massacre on Dec. 14, more than 100 people in the U.S. were killed by guns. In the first seven weeks, that number had risen to at least 1,285 gunshot killings and accidental deaths. A little more than three months after Newtown, there have been 2,243. As of September 25, 2013 - 25,379
  5. 5. What are the consequences of trauma? …One night a year ago, I saw men shooting at each other, people running to hide. I was scared and I thought I was going to die. After this happened, I started to have nightmares. I felt scared all the time. I couldn’t concentrate in class like before. I had thoughts that something bad could happen to me. I started to get in a lot of fights at school and with my brothers… – Martin, 6th grader Jaycox 6 17-Oct-13
  6. 6. What are the consequences of trauma? …One night a year ago, I saw men shooting at each other, people running to hide. I was scared and I thought I was going to die. After this happened, I started to have nightmares. I felt scared all the time. I couldn’t concentrate in class like before. I had thoughts that something bad could happen to me. I started to get in a lot of fights at school and with my brothers… – Martin, 6th grader Jaycox 7 17-Oct-13
  7. 7. Why a program for traumatized students? While walking we saw people crying because they had no food and water. We saw bodies in the street. They had an old man dead in a chair. I was so scared I thought I was going to die. We were walking on the bridge, and the army men started to shoot in the air, and I just started to cry I was so scared. It started to rain and everyone started to cry, saying, “I hope another hurricane don’t pass by.” Keoka, 10th grade
  8. 8. Why a program for traumatized students? I know when my mother starts to drink. I have to hide after school. I go outside. I try to stay at my friend’s house but then I have to go home. I sneak in or run to my room. Sometimes she fights with her boyfriend and she leaves me alone. Sometimes, she finds me and starts to yell and scream. She hits me with her hands and picks up stuff to throw at me. Even when she stops and says she’s sorry, I’m scared all night and can’t sleep. I get up and can’t think right. I’m no good at school. Stefan, 7th grader
  9. 9. What About THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP? The negative effects of trauma exposure may explain one aspect of the bleak reality that African American and Latino students continue to trail far behind their Caucasian peers in schools, such as higher drop out rates from high school after generations of education “reform”.
  10. 10. What Is Child Traumatic Stress? • Child traumatic stress refers to the physical and emotional responses of a child to events that threaten the life or physical integrity of the child or of someone critically important to the child (such as a parent or sibling). • Traumatic events overwhelm a child’s capacity to cope and elicit feelings of terror, powerlessness, and out-ofcontrol physiological arousal.
  11. 11. Types of Traumatic Stress • Acute trauma - a single traumatic event Sudden loss, physical or sexual assault • Chronic trauma - Multiple and varied events-domestic violence, a serious car accident, a victim of community violence • Complex trauma - Multiple interpersonal traumatic events from a very young age. • Profound effects on nearly every aspect of a child’s development and functioning.
  12. 12. Trauma and the Developing Brain Traumatized children and adolescents display changes in the levels of stress hormones similar to those seen in combat veterans.
  13. 13. When Working with Abused/Neglected Children • Exposure to trauma is the rule, not the exception, among children in the child welfare system. • The signs and symptoms of child traumatic stress vary in different age groups. • Children’s “bad” behavior is sometimes an adaptation to trauma.
  14. 14. The Importance of Creating Trauma Informed Schools • Classroom performance declines due to… – Inability to concentrate – Flashbacks and preoccupation with the trauma – Avoidance of school and other places • Other behavioral and emotional problems develop that can impede learning and interpersonal relations – Substance abuse – Aggression – Depression Jaycox 15 17-Oct-13
  15. 15. Effects of Violence and Trauma Take a Measurable Toll Decreased IQ and reading ability More suspensions and expulsions (Delaney-Black et al., 2003) (LAUSD survey, 2006) Decreased rates of high school graduation Lower grade point average (Hurt et al., 2001) (Grogger, 1997) More days absent from school (Hurt et al., 2001) Jaycox 16 17-Oct-13
  16. 16. Important to find ways to reach youth outside of the mental health sector • 80% of children with emotional problems don’t get needed treatment • Disparities in access are real • Schools and other programs can be ideal settings for detecting trauma in children and intervening – Barriers to accessing mental health care are significantly removed Jaycox 17 17-Oct-13
  17. 17. Working with schools, we developed CBITS rand.org or cbitsprogram.org • A school-based intervention to help kids cope with the effects of trauma • Delivered by licensed mental health professionals • Proven effective in research trials Jaycox 18 17-Oct-13
  18. 18. Support for Students Exposed to Trauma (SSET) – Modified for Use by Teachers • A modified version of CBITS for use by teachers and others • Graduate Interns and School Counselors can deliver this intervention • Pilot tests indicate that SSET is promising Jaycox 19 17-Oct-13
  19. 19. Core Concepts in Trauma Informed Schools – The Role Shared by Every Adult in a School Early Detection and Intervention Exposure to violence and trauma are detected early with early intervention Understanding Effects on Student Learning Students learn skills to cope more effectively with the distress that interferes with learning Informed Teachers and Parents Teachers and parents learn how they can support fearful and anxious students in the classroom and at home Jaycox 20 17-Oct-13
  20. 20. ED’s Model for Emergency Management in Education Settings Prevention -Mitigation Preparedness Recovery 21 Response Jaycox 21 17-Oct-13
  21. 21. Schools are Human Systems Is it an Open or Closed “Family System”? How did it deal with human problems and conflicts? What is the message of leadership? Letters to parents Communication with students How will it be Affected by Trauma? Is it ready to engage in response and recovery?
  22. 22. The Importance of Creating Trauma Informed Schools – Uninformed Adults may not recognize distress in children – Uninformed Adults may deny children’s reactions – Well Intentioned Adults may become preoccupied with their own issues and unintentionally neglect the needs of traumatized children
  23. 23. Trauma Informed Schools – Sample Strategies for School Social Workers School Wide Ecological Strategies: Positive, Safe School Climate Psychosocial Education: SSET Support to Students Exposed to Trauma Early Intervention: Intensive Intervention: TF-CBT CBITS Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma In Schools Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Crisis Counseling: Psychological First Aid: Listen Protect Connect * PBIS/RTI Guiding principals and framework *Multi-Tiered Service Delivery Model/Use of Research Based Interventions/Intensity of Interventions Increasing at Each Level/Data Driven Decisions/Regular Monitoring of Student Progress Jaycox 24 17-Oct-13
  24. 24. School Mental Health Services and RTI Academic Systems Intensive, Individual Interventions •Individual Students •Assessment-based •High Intensity •Of longer duration Targeted Group Interventions •Some students (at-risk) •High efficiency •Rapid response Universal Interventions •All students •Preventive, proactive Mental Health Services Behavioral Systems Intensive, Individual Interventions •Individual Students •Assessment-based •Intense, durable procedures Targeted Group Interventions •Some students (at-risk) •High efficiency •Rapid response Universal Interventions •All settings, all student •Preventive, proactive
  25. 25. Felitti, et al (1998). Relationship of Childhood Abuse and Household Dysfunction to Many of the Leading Causes of Death in Adults. Am J Prev Med 14(4).
  26. 26. Adverse Childhood Experiences Study – Alcoholism – Drug abuse – Depression – Suicide attempts – Sexually transmitted diseases (due to high risk activity with multiple partners) – Heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, skeletal fractures,and liver disease
  27. 27. What We Know RISK FACTORS ARE NOT PREDICTIVE FACTORS BECAUSE OF PROTECTIVE FACTORS

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