Trauma casts a long shadow on the lives of those it affects – individuals, families, communities, regions and nations. Its impact can devastate or disrupt lives for years, decades or even generations and continually trigger cycles of violence and revenge.
Studies have shown that Adverse Childhood Experience (ACEs) and Trauma increase the risk of poor mental and physical health, addiction, involvement in violence, incarceration, vulnerability to radicalisation and stands in the way of a full engagement with life. Youth suicide in Europe North America and the Western Pacific Rim is rising, trending with statistics on bullying and abuse, depression, anxiety and reported trauma.
International studies consistently show that youth are especially prone to peer pressure and the risk of delinquency is at its highest in youth. Studies of disadvantaged youth and youth in the justice system have also pointed to the fact that ‘…fear, anxiety and trauma serve both to increase risk of conflict’ and as an ‘outcome of being young, disadvantaged’ and/or ‘socially isolated’ (WHO-AIMS, 2015; UNWOMEN, 2010; Feminenza, 2011).
Youth in migrant communities, particularly those seeking refuge from conflict, are even more deeply impacted. The ‘risk of … depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, psychosis.. at least 3 times higher in migrants than in the host population’, the consequence of ‘exposure to violence, conflict victimhood, suicide, human trafficking (WHO, 2017), ‘FGM, forced marriage, intolerance, homelessness… street crime, being radicalized…’ (Europol, 2017) bringing ‘profound challenges for host communities’ (IOM, 2017).
The Syrian crisis and ISIL’s incursion deluged nearby countries with refugees: Turkey – 3 million; Jordan- 1.8 million; Iraq – 1.6 million as well as 2 million conflict widows. The EU-28 also received over 1.3 million ‘refugees and migrants, a median age of 28.1 years’ (Eurostat, 2019). Nearly ‘40% of IDPs/refugees, mainly female youth are unable to connect or access mental health support’ (WHO, 2019).
Community workers serving in these target groups bear an elevated risk of adverse effects. lead to ‘fatigue and secondary trauma syndrome (STS)’ in the USA (Bride, 2016) the EU (Kizilhan et al, 2018) and the Middle East (Plakas, 2016). STS is more commonly described as ‘compassion fatigue’ and, in the third sector, ‘burnout’.
Those working with affected communities and youth are painfully aware of its impact but, more often find that they too have limited access to the mental health support needed, particularly in disadvantaged or conflict affected regions. The COVID-19 pandemic has severely limied access in all levels of society and across all age groups.
Our Trauma Healing and Community Resilience Development services (THCRD) provide a protected and carefully designed, safe space within which youth workers may develop further their reflective skills and instigate inner change. It is proven with deprived, post-conflict or IDP host communities, disadvantaged youth, displaced persons, families with complex risk factors; with a history of stress, anxiety, trauma, conflict, gender-based violence and suppression, as well as with youth workers serving in these settings. It enables early safe identification of fears; brings fears to a standstill; fosters inner life shaping decisions to be made safely; provides sustainable platforms for self- forgiveness, release from the past; develops innate inner intactness, countering peer pressure. It markedly improves community resilience.
Primarily reflective in nature, THCRD is especially effective with those who cannot voice or share their story, or who are not initially aware of the underlying triggers, to make significant progress. It is effective and limits risk for youth, particularly disadvantaged youth.
THCRD has been effective directly with the following groups as well as the community workers, mental health and youth workers giving ongoing assistance:
- Internationally displaced persons, refugees, migrant youth
- Disadvantaged and socially isolated youth, disadvantaged women
- Socially marginalized youth with criminal risks, juvenile prisoners, and imprisoned mothers
- Communities, villages, tribes, youth, children, and women, with PTSD, anxiety, trauma, and conflict trauma
- Families bereaved in conflict communities
- Disadvantaged returnee youth, post conflict traumatized
- Victims of childhood abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation, sex trafficking
- Victims of domestic violence and their abusers; honour-based abuse; women facing violence and abuse; BMER, trafficked into modern slavery
- Teachers and students pioneering coexistence in conflict communities
- Youth facing relationship difficulties, conflicts, suicide risk
- Hosting communities receiving refugees, exposed to conflict and victimhood.
By 2019 as our partners (European, US, Middle East and African NGOs) referred their staff for training, education and mentoring years, 64% of participants reported a prior history of primary or secondary traumatic stress. Most serve as the face of humanity in prisons, schools, refugee camps, on the streets, in active conflict zones; always with disadvantaged groups. For many, they are the first line of informal mental health support available; for some, the only doorway to rehabilitation from the sink of poverty, mental ill health and an untethered existence. In 2020 COVID added to the burden, affecting nurses and emergency service workers.
You’ve made me your slave oh fear
You’ve made many enemies for me
I have no peace in myself
No mercy within myself
You told me to hate others oh fear
To harm others
To always remain with pain,
Anger and revenge
Bur sorry oh Fear
I’ve discovered my qualities to conquer you fear
I’ve discovered I am strong, am courageous, am powerful,
I can defeat you
Oh yes I can
Fear oh Fear
I have found that I have self control, love, faith, humanity, peace ,
Fear no, no Fear
I now know that
An eye for an eye ends up making the whole world blind
My religion is truth, love and service to God and humanity
No one is born hating another person
Because of the colour of his skin, background and religion
Fear oh Fear
I’m for truth, no matter who tells it
I know that if I want Peace I don’t talk to friends but to enemies
I am the change
Fear oh Fear
I have understood that
Where there is no Forgiveness there is no Understanding
Where there is no Forgiveness there is no Freedom
Where there is no Forgiveness wounds cannot heal
Where there is no Forgiveness Life is chilled
Where there is no Forgiveness we are all diminished
Where there is no Forgiveness there is no Hope
Where there is no Forgiveness there is no Continuance
I am for Instant Forgiveness.