Finding the Silver Lining: Trauma & Peer Support

According to the Division of Public Health, as many as 53% of Nebraskans have experienced trauma.  Generally, a traumatic event is an experience that confronts the person either directly or as a witness where the person perceives an immediate threat of death, extreme human suffering, severe bodily harm or injury, coercive exploitation or harassment, or sexual violation. 
Trauma can impair a person’s mind, body, spirit and relationships. Trauma can also affect the entire family.  Many individuals who live with mental health and/or substance abuse disorders have also experienced trauma, which can result in additional challenges. One’s sense of security in relationships can be shaken at any age after a traumatic event.
In Nebraska, adults who report having experienced trauma during their childhood also report higher rates of: 
  • Tobacco Use
  • Obesity
  • Alcohol Use
  • Health Disability 
  • Overall Poor Health 
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
  • Depression
  • Arthritis 
  • Diabetes
Experiencing childhood trauma does not mean one’s life is doomed, it simply means that a person may have additional risk factors that may increase the possibility of a negative outcome later.
Most children who grow up in families with challenges overcome the odds and demonstrate resilience. Resiliency is a “self-righting tendency,” and children often have a natural ability to self-right or bounce back. The resilient child recognizes a stressful event, often responds emotionally, recoils temporarily, then bounces back and returns to a prior emotional state figuring out in his own way what he can do to manage the difficult situation. 1
Resiliency may be explained by the presence of protective factors, those qualities or situations that help alter or reverse natural outcomes. Each individual develops their own set of protective factors that buffer them from the effects of trauma. Protective factors may include education, recreational skills, and relationships. Resiliency can be cultivated by providing and promoting these protective factors in a child’s life. 2
In a basic sense peer support is an individualized recovery-focused service that is based on a mutual relationship between two people who are learning and growing together.  There are peers statewide who can assist families and individuals on the journey of walking, laughing, loving and experiencing a normal life after trauma.  A person doesn’t have to go down the road alone after facing trauma, and this website invites you to learn more about trauma across the lifespan for family, youth and adults. Resiliency is about many factors in an individual’s life, regardless of age.
1. (Ginsburg KR, Jablow MM. Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings. Elks Grove, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2011).  
2. (Masten, 1997; Division of Public Health, 2013; SAMHSA, 2014).
You are not alone.
Together we can learn and grow in resiliency and recovery.   
Nebraska Family Helpline: 888-866-8660
Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK
Regional Consumer Specialists can assist you in
accessing peer support in your area.

Check out the useful documents below. 
Adult Peer Support
Family Peer Support
Trauma Web Links
Youth Peer Support
 Video Testimonials

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Ken's suicide statements


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Good Life. Great Mission.