The impacts of gun violence extend beyond the immediate victim to family members, friends, neighbors, and other community members. Efforts to reduce the effects of community violence on individuals include education about the prevalence of toxic stress and protective benefits of strengthening relationships between community members, including youth, impacted by violence and trauma.
Mental Health Skills Trainings for Community Leaders
As part of our trauma-informed response to violence reduction, the CSCC is bringing mental health skill building trainings to the communities most impacted by violence this summer. Each learning cohort aims to activate and support persons across programs and organizations who are most likely to encounter individuals and families who have experienced the impacts of community violence.
Trauma-Informed Care involves five key universal elements: SAMHSA’s 4R’s and a 5th-R (resilience) developed through local partners.
- realizing the prevalence of trauma;
- recognizing how trauma affects all individuals, communities, organizations, and systems;
- responding by putting this knowledge into practice;
- resisting retraumatization; and
- restoring resilience by supporting healing for all.
- Trauma Understanding: Through knowledge and understanding of trauma and stress, we can act compassionately and take well-informed steps towards wellness.
- Safety & Security: Increasing stability in our lives and having core physical and emotional safety needs met can minimize our stress reactions and allow us to focus on wellness.
- Cultural Humility & Responsiveness: When we are open to understanding cultural differences and respond to them sensitively, we make each other feel understood and wellness is enhanced.
- Compassion & Dependability: When we experience compassionate and dependable relationships, we re-establish trusting connections with others that fosters mutual wellness.
- Collaboration& Empowerment: When we are prepared for and given real opportunities to make choices for our care, and ourselves we feel empowered and can promote our own wellness.
- Resilience & Recovery: When we focus on strengths and develop clear steps we can take toward wellness, we are more likely to be resilient and recover.
Participants include street outreach workers, victim services providers, faith leaders, mentoring and youth serving staff, hospital personnel, community members, Chicago Public Library staff, substance use and mental health providers, domestic violence agencies, educators, Chicago Police Department officers and staff, and community-based organizations.
Participants can learn strategies to build relationships, create trust and psychological safety, and learn to use evidenced-based activities to help manage stress and emotional dysregulation. Each training cohort will convene in-person for 4 two-hour sessions at a location within the community area of focus. The hyperlocal focus and inclusive nature of the trainings will equip diverse traditional and non-traditional service providers – both with or without specialized mental health credentials – and provide a unique opportunity to address mental health concerns on a community level.
The trainings kicked off in May and will continue throughout the summer. Ten in-person training cohorts will be held within 15 communities highly impacted by violence. Each cohort includes four 2-hour training sessions, held either Tuesday or Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dates for the cohorts are:
- South Lawndale (Spanish Accessible) – May 17, May 24, June 7, June 14
- West & East Garfield Park – May 19, May 26, June 9, June 16
- Englewood & West Englewood – June 21, June 28, July 12, July 19
- North Lawndale – June 23, June 30, July 14, July 21
- Back of the Yards – June 21, June 28, July 12, July 19
- Greater Grand Crossing & South Shore – June 23, June 30, July 14, July 21
- Auburn Gresham – July 26, August 2, August 9, August 16
- Chicago Lawn – July 28, August 4, August 11, August 18
- Austin & West Humboldt Park – July 26, August 2, August 9, August 16
- West Pullman & Roseland – July 28, August 4, August 11, August 18
A virtual training option is also available for participants from any of the 15 communities of focus. This will include four 1.5-hour training sessions held on Wednesdays.
Symposium on Trauma-Informed Response to Violence
In March 2022, the CSCC, in partnership with CDPH, held a Symposium on Trauma-Informed Response to Violence. The Symposium addressed the intersection of Mental Health, Substance Use, and Violence, with a specific focus on increasing access to mental health and substance use services for individuals at high risk of violence.
The event convened mental health, substance use, and violence prevention providers, as well as community leaders and CSCC partners who provide direct service and implement programs.
Participants engaged in collective group discussions, break-out sessions, and healing exercises led by Lotus Love Spirit Healing and the Center for Healing and Justice through Sport that included harm reduction techniques, trauma-informed training, action plans for innovative service delivery models, and wellness activities to emphasize self-care.
Find Mental Health Care
To find support near you, visit the City’s UnSpoken page. You can also call the National Alliance on Mental Illness Chicago Helpline at 833-626-4244 (833-NAMI-CHI) or the City of Chicago Domestic Violence Helpline at 1-877-863-6338. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger of harm, please call 911.