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Becoming Trauma Informed


In 2013, an independent review of the Mental Health and Addiction (MHA) programs and services of the IWK Health Centre (IWK) and the Capital District Health Authority (CDHA) was undertaken to examine the continuum of mental health services available to children and youth. The intent of the assessment was to review services, policies and treatments as they related to best practices. The review highlighted great work being done by various individuals/teams providing care to children and youth who had experienced trauma.  It also identified areas for improvement in meeting the needs of children and youth who have experienced trauma.  One of the key recommendations was for the IWK and NSH child and youth mental health services to become trauma informed as a system-level priority in order to provide additional trauma education and services for patients, families and staff.

Working Groups

The IWK embarked on this initiative in 2015 with the formation of five advisory committees that included over 100 individuals representing the IWK and other key partner organizations. These groups worked diligently to review the literature, consult experts in the field, and conduct a benchmarking study with other trauma informed organizations. Trauma informed model is currently being rolled out across the IWK Health and the Nova Scotia Health (NSH) child and adolescent mental health and addictions services.

Currently we are focused on:

  • Enhancing psychologically safe and healthy workplaces for staff
  • Creating safe and secure trauma informed care environments for patients and families
  • Identifying best approaches for the early response and screening of trauma
  • Determining best practices for treating individuals who have experienced trauma
  • Building and maintaining trauma informed care community partnerships

The Trauma Informed Care team oversees this important work and is available for team and individual consultation. The team ensures that education, practice, research and evaluation are closely connected and strives to promote knowledge transfer and communication at all levels.


We would like to take the opportunity to thank all of the patients, clients, families, staff, physicians, volunteers, community and system partners that are co-creating and partnering with us as we strive to become a trauma informed organization and community.