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Trauma-Informed Practice

BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services (BCMHSUS) is committed to trauma-informed practice and supports the cultural change required to implement it.
BCMHSUS program leaders, physicians, clinical and support staff are implementing a trauma-informed approach across the agency to ensure that all people who come in contact with our programs encounter services that are sensitive to the impact of trauma.  

The goals of the trauma-informed practice initiative include the following: 

  • To increase awareness among BCMHSUS staff and service users of the prevalence of trauma and the impact it has on mental and physical health and substance use. 
  • To increase knowledge of trauma-informed principles and practice among mental health professionals and support staff and physicians.
  • To create safer environments for our patients and staff by enhancing physical safety in care settings and interpersonal safety through all interactions 
  • To provide patients opportunities to engage by giving them choices, chances to collaborate, and make safe connections with other patients, staff, family, and the community.
  • To empower staff and clients by recognizing their strengths and fostering resilience.
  • To increase capacity amongst BCMHSUS mental health practitioners to better serve people impacted by violence and trauma and thereby improve outcomes for patients, clients and families. 

Service examples in the community

BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services programs have been implementing various aspects of trauma-informed practice since 2005. Different models have been used, training programs have been developed and champions have been identified across the organization.  

  • As of 2017, the Heartwood Centre is into its fifth year of implementation and serves as a prototype for other programs.
  • The Burnaby Centre for Mental Health and Addiction has also undertaken significant work to implement trauma-informed practice in its programs and can provide mentorship for further implementation across the organization. 
  • In May 2013 the BC Ministry of Health released the Trauma-Informed Practice Guide for BC, providing overarching guidance for implementation in British Columbia. 
  • Forensic Psychiatric Services is actively implementing principles to successfully reduce seclusion rates and is also developing a risk assessment. 
  • The Forensic Psychiatric Services program, START, is a strongly evidence-based measure which requires that we assess the client's strengths. Forensic Psychiatric Services provides safety groups, an evidence-based program for those who have experienced trauma; and has established a Patient Advisory Council.  
Trauma-informed practice documents can be found in our Health Professionals section. 
SOURCE: Trauma-Informed Practice ( )
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