YA! Releases Trauma Tool & Action Briefs

To Promote “Healing in Color”

On January 10th, with a webinar and three action briefs, Youth ALIVE!, a nationally recognized violence prevention and youth leadership agency, released its Screening and Tool for the Awareness and Relief of Trauma (START), an intervention designed to help young people identify trauma symptoms and provide them with tools they can use to mitigate those symptoms. The tool was developed in tandem with young men of color, including gunshot survivors, who provided insight on how they experience trauma and its aftermath, the language they use to describe it, and how various interventions helped them heal.

START is private, brief and easy.

Over the last five years, Youth ALIVE! and Drexel University’s Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice, in partnership with The California Endowment, have conducted focus groups and interviews, and piloted the tools that led to START’s creation. On January 10, they released three action briefs that illustrate how violence and trauma impact the lives of young men of color, ways people and programs can be more responsive to young men of color, and how to get started using START.

Over 300 young people have already used START, with the follow-up population displaying a marked decrease in trauma symptoms.

“There is no quick cure for trauma but that doesn’t mean things can’t help,” says John Rich, MD, MPH, Co-Director of the Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice. “We think of START as analogous to aspirin; it helps to manage the pain associated with symptoms. Additionally, the temporary relief may make reaching out for longer term solutions, like counseling, more palatable.”

“This research is dedicated to Maceo H. Bell, murdered June 8, 2014. He was 20 years-old. Maceo contributed to the research that produced this tool. His murder is the embodiment of why we began this research in the first place, because too many young people are injured, too many are killed,” says Anne Marks, Youth ALIVE!’s Executive Director.

“Unhealed trauma is a root cause of many of the challenges faced by the families and communities we serve,” said Dr. Robert K. Ross, President and CEO of The California Endowment.  “By helping systems and providers become more intentional and effective in addressing trauma and promoting resiliency, particularly for underserved populations, we believe we can make a significant impact on the well-being of youth, their families and communities.”

The 90 minute webinar introduced the project to programs and people who are invested in helping young people begin their healing journey from violence and trauma. It also provided an opportunity to ask questions about the research and practical application of what we learned and how it has already helped reduce symptoms of young people throughout Oakland.

Listen to a recording of the January 10 webinar here. The interventions for START are available online at www.START2Heal.org.