How to evaluate trauma-informed care in community mental health services

Theme Mental health

Workstream Psychological interventions

Status: This project is ongoing

Trauma can be caused by accidents, violence, abuse, loss, disaster, war, social injustice, and many other types of experiences. We know that many patients and healthcare professionals have had traumatic experiences which had a negative impact on their health and well-being. If services do not deal with the effects of trauma, they can make trauma worse for patients and staff.

Trauma-informed care is where the service, and the people who work there, understand trauma and how it can affect us. A trauma-informed service is one that feels safe, trustworthy, and sensitive to staff and patient needs. It does not cause distress, or re-trigger past trauma. Services that change to using ‘trauma informed care’ can improve patients’ and staff experiences and health. Over the past decade, many mental health services have started using trauma-informed care.

Project aim

Our study is looking at how community mental health services are using ‘trauma-informed care’ and how we can evaluate its effectiveness.

What we hope to achieve

We will recruit two community mental health services that are using trauma-informed care.

We will hold two workshops and 40 interviews with healthcare professionals and patients to visually map out all the trauma-informed work and build an evaluation plan around it.

Participating services will use our study’s findings to inform the improvement and evaluation of their trauma-informed care work.

Researchers will use the findings to inform a large evaluation of trauma-informed care in UK community mental health services.

An advisory group of people with lived experience and professionals who plan, commission, and deliver trauma-informed care will support how we plan and conduct our study as well as guiding us in how we disseminate our findings.

This project is being led by Dr Natalia Lewis and Dr Sandi Dheensa.