Resilience Coalition, Westchester County, New York
Starting in 2017, there was a sharp increase in the demand for training in trauma-informed care in Westchester County. The Department of Community Mental Health provided several pieces of training with the expectation that wait lists would eventually decline.
As word spread, however, the demand only increased. The uptick in awareness and interest in trauma-informed care was exciting, but providing this training was both time- and labor-intensive.
At the same time, Westchester Library System (WLS) faced a similar dilemma. They began screening a newly released film titled “Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope,” which required the facilitation of a post-film discussion. They were faced with finding facilitators who were sufficiently knowledgeable and available. Out of these shared challenges, the Resilience Coalition was born.
The Westchester Resilience Coalition brought together mental health providers with community stakeholders and, coordinated screenings for the public and interested providers under the leadership of the Westchester Library System.
Since 2018, over 150 screenings have been given to over 4,000 participants.
In addition to the general public, workshops were given to the entire Probation department, judges at the 9th Judicial Circuit’s bi-annual dinner, the County Board of Legislators, the County Executive’s Office, school districts, lawyers, advocates, therapists, childcare providers, family practice residents, nurses, and pediatricians, college students, domestic violence survivors, and young adult alumni of the foster care system.
Over the course of many workshops with many different audiences, a model began to take shape. This was put into a Resilience Film Workshop Facilitator’s Guide, which spells out the nuts and bolts of conducting a successful workshop, such as preparatory activities, an anonymous Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) survey, discussion questions, take-home points, satisfaction surveys, and lessons learned. In addition, a booklet of 48 facilitator handouts was also created, organized by topic and audience type.
Some impact examples:
The Mid-Hudson Regional Youth Justice Team, under the leadership of Westchester’s Probation Department, purchased 100 film licenses to distribute to libraries and agencies throughout the seven counties of the Mid-Hudson region. They also printed and distributed 500 copies of the Facilitators Guide and Handouts throughout the region.
Thus far, one neighboring county has partnered with Westchester to create its resilience coalition. Two school districts and one agency report using the guide and handouts for workshops and even a day-long conference.
The Resilience Coalition combined anonymous ACEs results from various workshops into a single database tracking ACEs across service sectors to inform a public health approach to preventing ACEs and trauma in the future.
Want to share your community’s efforts to implement trauma-informed care? We want to hear from you! Please contact CTIPP’s Director of Communications and Outreach, Laura Braden Quigley (firstname.lastname@example.org), to develop a case study for our Resource Center.