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Sample Legislation: Federal H.R. 9201 & S. 5251

By Whitney Marris, Trauma Therapist and Director of Trauma-Informed Practice & System Transformation

NOTE: The enclosed is sample legislation from CTIPP’s 2022 Trauma-Informed Policy Development Highlights. It is meant to be educational and aspirational for trauma-informed advocacy.

Sample Legislation: Federal H.R. 9201 & S. 5251

CTIPP Policy Dimension: Advance environmental and climate justice (>1% of trauma-informed bills ITTIC analyzed were aligned with this dimension)

Summary: Though not signed into law during this legislative session, this bipartisan measure holds promise in addressing the individual and collective trauma caused by natural disasters through a trauma-informed, community-centered lens.

Notably, this bill would direct the CDC to award competitive grants to create, operate, or expand community-based programs that use a public health approach to building mental wellness and resiliency, which the bill posits will enhance the capacity of community members to heal and prevent mental health issues related to disasters, quell climate anxiety, and mitigate toxic stress and the potentially deleterious impacts related thereto.

The bill also encourages community-led efforts and collaboration amongst entities such as schools, businesses, health and human service providers, and others deeply rooted in the communities. Thus, they know how to meet the unique constellations of needs that emerge within them.

The measure indicates that a public health approach to strengthening community wellness and resilience can include exploring and integrating evidence-based and promising practices to become trauma-informed, along with other approaches that promote wellness, foster resilience, and “heal individual and community traumas.”

Possible grantees that use a strengths-based approach are prioritized explicitly in the bill, which encourages mental health and psychosocial problems to be addressed both by taking a “holistic systems perspective” and by “strengthening existing protective factors and forming new ones” in communities to buffer stress and enhance residents’ capacity for individual and collective psychological and emotional resilience.

The bill also includes some notable definitions, such as describing “community trauma” as “a blow to the basic fabric of social life that damages the bonds attaching people, impairs their prevailing sense of community, undermines their fundamental sense of safety, justice, equity, and security, and heightens individual and collective fears and feelings of vulnerability” and “protective factors” as “strengths, skills, resources, and characteristics that are associated with a lower likelihood of negative outcomes of adversities, or which reduce the impact on people of toxic stresses or a traumatic experience.”

Explore CTIPP’s 2022 Trauma-Informed Policy Development Highlights


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