Why Building Resilience?

In 2015, the Catalyst Initiative of the George Family Foundation, along with community ally, Marnita’s Table, held two convenings on the topic of using whole person practices to heal from trauma. Over 500 people attended these sessions, and the resounding message was that this crucial conversation is needed. In response to the increasing evidence of the links between trauma, toxic stress and poor health outcomes, the George Family Foundation’s Catalyst Initiative hosted Building Resilience: Restoring our Human Capacity to Heal on September 27, 2016.

Building Resilience provided tools and techniques for uncovering culturally meaningful integrative practices that may help both individuals and communities recover and rise above historic, secondary and other types of trauma.

What is Trauma?

The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) defines trauma “as experiences that cause intense physical and psychological stress reactions. It can refer to a single event, multiple events [including historic events], or a set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as physically and emotionally harmful or threatening and that has lasting adverse effects on the individual’s physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being.” Secondary trauma “is trauma-related stress reactions and symptoms resulting from exposure to another individual’s traumatic experiences, rather than from exposure directly to a traumatic event.”

These definitions, along with toxic stress and collective trauma, were utilized during Building Resilience as we learned about practical tools that could be used to address various types of trauma and their impacts.