Trauma Informed Care
Research has shown that individuals who are homeless are likely to have experienced some form of previous trauma; homelessness itself can be viewed as a traumatic experience; and being homeless increases the risk of further victimization and retraumatisation.
Historically, homeless service settings have provided care to traumatised people without directly acknowledging or addressing the impact of trauma. As the field advances, providers in homeless service settings are beginning to realise the opportunity that they have to not only respond to the immediate crisis of homelessness, but to also contribute to the longer-term healing of these individuals.
Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) offers a framework for providing services to traumatised individuals within a variety of service settings, including homelessness service settings. Although a number of homeless services may be beginning to implement trauma-informed service models across Europe, there is great variability in how these services are implemented.
Erasmus+ Project on Trauma Informed Care
In 2018, as Sophia and Midlands Simon worked with our partners in SMES Europa to publish a front-line manual of best practices to support people who were experiencing homelessness and also had mental health support needs. Many conversations were had on trauma and its effects on those we support. This project was borne out of those conversations and the research conducted throughout SMES Europa’s Dignity and Well-Being project.
Sophia was delighted to be chosen to lead the Erasmus+ Project on Trauma Informed Care and Psychologically Informed Environments. We are committed to not just learning about trauma and its impact but to becoming truly trauma informed organisations and this project is key to that process.
Numerous studies have been conducted that have highlighted the effectiveness of Trauma Informed Care and Psychological Informed Environments in the support of people who are Homeless and have Mental Health support needs.This project recognises that to achieve this with reference to Trauma Informed Care and Psychologically Informed Environments it is necessary to meet the skills and knowledge needs of organisations, staff and service users. This involves collaborating with best practice providers across Europe, to learn and develop trauma informed organisations.
This project will focus on the following key areas:
1. Introduction to Psychologically Informed Environments and Trauma Informed Care
2. Application of PIE and TIC in the practical context
3. Challenges and to be met with applying PIE and TIC
This project aims to exchange best practices in how TIC and PIE are understood, applied and how to overcome the challenges in applying them to create organisational cultures of care, safety, and respect for staff and service users.
The most visible evidence of the most socially excluded in European Society are those who are homeless and living on the street.
While it is difficult to get an exact number of homeless people across the EU, recent estimates point to 4 million people experiencing homeless each year in Europe and that 400,000 of these people sleep on the streets of European cities every night.
Around 30% of the homeless population of Europe has a severe mental health support need. The average rate of severe mental health problems in non-homeless populations is on average, 6% . So if you are homeless in Europe today you are five times more likely to have a mental health support need.
Homeless people have worse physical and emotional health status than the general population, including those who reside in areas of high deprivation. Chronic homelessness is characterised by tri-morbidity, meaning they are more likely to suffer from mental ill health, physical ill health and substance misuse, and at the same time less likely to access the support they need.
The WHO European Mental Health plan was adopted by the EU in 2005. It stated that the promotion of mental health and the prevention and treatment of mental disorders are fundamental to safeguarding and enhancing the quality of life, well-being and productivity of individuals, families, workers and communities, thus increasing the strength and resilience of society as a whole.
However even within this document the only direct reference to homelessness and mental heath is a direction for member states to: Offer special outreach programmes in areas with a high prevalence of risk populations such as poor minority groups or homeless people. While this is an important intervention as a solution it will not prevent or address the needs of the most social excluded in our society.
The Lisbon Declaration, and Housing for All both commit to eliminating homelessness by 2030. Sophia believes that central to this is ensuring this is that all homeless services are Trauma Informed.
By bringing together a wide network of organisations who have expertise in homeless provision and mental health support this project directly helps to support people who are the most socially excluded in Europe. Ensuring that the emerging and current best practices in Trauma Informed Care and Psychologically Informed Environments are used by the staff and services that support them.
Caritas Archidiecezji Warszawskiej Poland
SMES Europa Brussels
CHPL Centro Hospitalar Psiquiatrico De Lisboa Portugal
Coordinamento Toscano Marginalità ODV Italy
Society of Social Psychiatry and Mental Health
Panayiotis Sakellaropoulos Greece
Parc Sanitari Sant Joan de Déu Barcelona
Project UDENFOR Denmark
Sophia's collaborative partner Midlands Simon Community is also be a partner in this process.