The purpose of this paper is to develop a working concept of trauma and a trauma-informed approach
and to develop a shared understanding of these concepts that would be acceptable and appropriate across an array of service systems and stakeholder groups. SAMHSA puts forth a framework for the behavioral health specialty sectors, that can be adapted to other sectors such as child welfare, education, criminal and juvenile justice, primaryhealth care, the military and other settings that have the potential to ease or exacerbate an individual’s capacity to cope with traumatic experiences. In fact, many people with behavioral health problems receive treatment and services in these non-specialty behavioral health systems. SAMHSA intends this framework be relevant to its federal partners and their state and local system counterparts and to practitioners, researchers, and trauma survivors, families and communities. The desired goal is to build a framework that helps systems “talk” to each other,
to understand better the connections between trauma and behavioral health issues, and to guide systems to become trauma-informed.