In his recent article for Psychology Today, Felipe Mercado discusses the healing powers of compassion and trauma-informed care for all individuals, but particularly youths of color and those living in poverty.
“Trauma is a pervasive issue affecting individuals of all ages, backgrounds, and socioeconomic statuses, but youth of color and those living in poverty are particularly vulnerable to experiencing trauma due to systemic inequalities and oppressive societal structures. This can include exposure to violence, racism, and poverty-related stressors, which can have lasting effects on mental health and well-being.
“Compassion is a critical aspect of trauma-informed care, which emphasizes understanding the impact of trauma and promoting healing instead of solely focusing on diagnosis and treatment. Compassion involves creating a safe and supportive environment for individuals to share their experiences, fostering a sense of empowerment and autonomy, and promoting resilience and well-being.
“Research has shown that compassion can have a positive impact on mental health outcomes, particularly for individuals who have experienced trauma. A study by Zerach et al. (2019) found that compassion-focused therapy was effective in reducing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in individuals who had experienced childhood trauma. Similarly, a meta-analysis by Kirby et al. (2017) found that compassion interventions were effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression in individuals with PTSD.
“The harsh reality is that despite the potential benefits of compassion-focused interventions, many individuals from marginalized communities may not have access to trauma-informed care or may face barriers to seeking help. This is particularly true for youth of color and those living in poverty, who may face systemic barriers to accessing mental health services and may experience stigma related to mental health.”
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