Trauma and its Relationship to Mental Health – Dr Neha Shah, Sally Armour & Laura Fischer

May 2021

In this episode, the group discusses what psychological trauma is and how it relates to mental health.

Dr Neha Shah talks about how childhood trauma can have an increased likelihood of poor mental and physical health outcomes later in life as well as the difference between types of traumas, in particular the difference between PTSD and Complex Trauma. She also discusses what trauma-informed approaches look like in non-healthcare settings.

Sally Armour, from a public mental health point of view, talks about 'toxic stress', the distinction between adversity and when adversity becomes trauma and fundamental survival strategies. She touches on the importance of validating the difficulty people have in finding their innate path to recovery and discusses why some adversity and tolerable levels of stress in life are important in shaping us, but need not define us.

Laura talks about research she has been involved in since the first lockdown on the impact of social distancing, particularly for young people in abusive environments. A key finding is that we really need everyone to be able to firstly recognise and then respond to trauma. There is a need to make the experience of trauma and the language associated with it understandable to the public. She raises the simple, but impactful idea that being trauma-informed is just being human-informed, looking at a person, their experiences and their perceptions – looking at the human behind the outcome.

As a key takeaway, the reality is that trauma is extremely prevalent so don't dismiss it and don't turn a blind eye. Learn to recognise and respond to trauma.