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Trauma informed approaches

Recognising and understanding

The need to provide both support and services that are trauma informed is not new and many services are actively working towards this. This means that we need to continue shifting our lens to understanding more about what has happened to a person and their whānau rather than a focus on what’s wrong with a person.

Developing trauma informed approaches is not unique to mental health and addiction services. People who have experienced trauma may be engaged with a range of services such as health, education, justice, mental health, addiction or social services. Therefore, our approach needs to be part of broader public health strategy.

People have different responses to trauma and we need to be aware of the event, the experience by a person or a population and the effects of the event. A trauma informed approach recognises and understands trauma can negatively affect whānau, groups, organisations and communities, as well as individuals.

In New Zealand the impacts of colonisation on the wellbeing of Māori people, the impact of historical trauma events and their contribution to negative health disparities experienced by many whānau (extended family), hapū (sub-tribes), and iwi (tribes) need to be considered in any trauma-informed approach.

People providing services may have experienced trauma in their personal and or professional lives which may impact on their health and wellbeing. Worker wellbeing is an important component of a trauma informed approach.

Most of the research, initiatives and resources to support services and communities to develop trauma informed approaches comes from USA, Canada, UK and Australia. The use of, or adaption of, any overseas designed trauma informed care resources requires careful consideration to ensure that we are culturally respectful of, and responsive to, Māori people.

What actions are we taking?

Te Pou is working in collaboration with other workforce centres; Werry Workforce Whāraurau, Le Va and Te Rau Ora to focus on the development of a trauma informed approach for New Zealand.

The first step towards this is the development of a combined workforce centre resource summarising trauma and trauma informed approaches relevant to the New Zealand context.

Le Va has produced a learning module to raise awareness of the effects of trauma and a trauma informed approach, but specifically with a focus on a healing-centred approach when working with Pasifika people and families.

Te Pou’s actions:

Published a literature scan about trauma informed care:

Published a list of organisations that have produced resources about trauma informed care

Ensured that the refresh of Let’s get real: Real Skills for working with people and whānau with mental health and addiction needs, recognises the need for trauma informed approaches are included across the seven Real Skills.

Key Contacts


Related Initiatives



Te Pou has a wide range of evidence-based resources and tools to help the mental health, addiction and disability workforces.

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Our work

Te Pou works alongside mental health and addiction services, and disability organisations to understand their priorities and workforce challenges.

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