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Understanding Youth Trauma

SAMHSA has developed key operating principles and guidance for a trauma-informed approach that can be applied across multiple service sectors to help clarify confusion and ambiguity.

The guidance document summarizes information experts (including individuals who have experienced trauma), practitioners from multiple fields, researchers, and policymakers. The document is divided into three parts:

  • Part One: Defining Trauma provides a working definition of trauma. This section also begins to address the role of communities in the context of trauma

  • Part Two: A Trauma-Informed Approach provides a definition and a list of the key principles of a trauma-informed approach. This section also differentiates the trauma-informed approach from commonly confused terms, such as trauma-specific interventions and services and trauma-informed care

  • Part Three: Suggested Guidelines for Implementing a Trauma-Informed Approach is a description of guidelines for systems and organizations to follow when implementing a trauma-informed approach. These suggested guidelines will be incorporated into a matrix worksheet for organizations to use when planning and assessing the implementation of a trauma-informed approach

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