Healing the Brain Through Resilience
People heal from trauma by building five resilience factors: positive connections with safe adults, affiliation, self-esteem, self-efficacy, and external support systems. The Resiliency Project* uses these strategies to increase resiliency in young people who have been traumatized so that they may begin the healing process. The project came into existence when former Ohio Governor John Kasich earmarked funding to work with youth in crisis to address the growing number of school shootings in our country. Greater Cincinnati Behavioral Health Services (GCB) has been a part of the local program since 2015. More recently the agency has taken over as the fiscal agent of the grant, which supports clients who have a co-occurring diagnosis of mental llness and are developmentally disabled (MI/DD).
The program has been so successful in Hamilton and Clermont counties that the state has given us additional funding to create online materials and videos for training other mental health and DD providers state-wide. Cindi Crew, LISW-S, and Director of Integrated Counseling at Greater Cincinnati Behavioral Health Services, has been with the program since its inception in 2015. According to Cindi, “Studies show that resilience will help rebuild a traumatized brain. Our Resiliency Program works with clients who have a significant trauma history as well as a developmental disability and a mental health diagnosis. We gather all of the people who will be providing services to the client and create a trauma-informed biological timeline to help us assess what their triggers might be as well as positive responses to reinforcement. Once in the program, they receive a Care Manager who helps them to connect in the community and a therapist to begin the deep healing work. We work with them to find their passion – experiences that give them great joy and confidence.”
To measure resilience, the clients that participate in the program complete a Resilience Scale which measures protective factors when they first start and again at the one year mark in the program. The results of our program have been very positive. In 2018 the average increase in resilience for clients was 4.56, which means they went from an average Resilience score of 7.44 out of 16 to an average resilience score of 12 out of 16.
It’s evident that the state is also impressed with our results. Not only have they funded the online training but they’ve also allocated grant money for the continuation of our program through 2021.
GCB Associate VP of Integrated Counseling Services Penny Middaugh, whose staff runs the program, says, “I am extremely proud of the leadership Cindi has provided to this project. It’s a shining example of how the coordination of care can provide the most effective change.”
*The Resiliency Project is in collaboration with Hamilton & Clermont boards of DD, Clermont & Butler Family & Children First, Child Focus, Inc., and Families Connected of Clermont County.
Maggie, a Care Manager with the program, spends time with her client at a local nature preserve.
THE RESILIENCY PROJECT KEY FACTORS: positive connections with safe adults, affiliation, self-esteem, self-efficacy and external support systems