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Employees Who Experience Trauma

When a person has gone through or is going through a traumatic event, it can impact all areas of their life including their working lives. This includes trauma experienced as a child or adolescent while growing up (known as adverse childhood experiences or ACEs), as well as that experienced as an adult. There are multiple ways that employers can support their staff even where they do not know if anyone has experienced trauma.

Individuals will often not want to share information about past traumas and the ongoing impact on them. Therefore, it is important that employers create a trauma-informed environment which accepts that anyone may have experienced trauma in their lives.

The most important thing is to create a supportive environment at work that treats everyone fairly and with respect. Discrimination, judgement or treating people unfairly can retraumatise individuals.  Ensuring the organisation and all managers are committed to managing in a fair and compassionate way is an important first step.  More information about compassionate leadership can be found here.

Creating and publicising clear routes for employees to raise issues such as experience of trauma in a safe and non-judgemental environment is another important way of providing staff with support; this could be a separate route than via their line managers as by offering an alternative route individuals can choose what is appropriate for them at that time.

Providing the opportunity for individuals to share information about trauma is important both to be able to assist them in seeking specialist support, if appropriate, or to help understanding of how they react to certain situations and put mitigations in place. Enabling flexible working solutions could be another way of assisting individuals.  Any response should be tailored to each individual’s needs while recognising that their needs may vary over time.

Public Health Wales has produced a TrACE Toolkit that can help organisations reflect on their current practice and develop strategies to strengthen trauma-informed approaches and become a trauma-informed organisation.  More information and the toolkit can be found here.

This web page is currently under development and will be expanded soon to include more information, including practical guidance and resources and signposting to services.