When we think about childhood trauma, we may not consider the how incidents ranging from abuse to car accidents could affect us as adults. Since children’s brains are still developing, the impact of childhood trauma is more likely to affect adult life. According to Andrea Roberts, a research scientist with the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, trauma can trigger physical conditions such as heart attack, stroke, obesity, diabetes and cancer. The higher the number of traumatic events, the more of an increased risk of physical problems.
Given the understanding that our personal lives affect our professional lives and vice versa, it’s important to for the workplace to be “trauma informed.” Providing training programs for employees on trauma-responsive and trauma-informed care and services can help people who have experienced childhood trauma better cope with how it might affect them in a work environment. Supporting mental health and well-being in beneficial for reducing sickness, absence and stress in the workplace. Childhood trauma often results in a complex post-traumatic stress disorder that can lead to issues with self-esteem, confidence and self-blame.
In addition, survivors often worry about the social stigma associated with disclosing traumatic events to their employers and thus choose not to for fear of job security or promotion. This in turn hinders a survivors ability to cope effectively and or access support. According to research conducted at Nottingham Business School (in the UK) with 48 survivors, productivity was found to have been hindered and therefore and ability to perform one’s role is affected by childhood trauma.
Organizational support is the critical factor in helping trauma survivors in the workplace. From managerial training to the creation of spaces for discussing concerns, employers should find value in making reasonable adjustments that foster positive emotional and motivational support to help survivors in the workplace.