TANA is a registered Australian Health Promotion Charity for the prevention and mitigation of complex trauma. We are a non-profit, grassroots organisation founded in North West Tasmania, in 2018.

The World Health Organisation included Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD)in its latest Classification of Diseases, the ICD-11, in June 2018. CPTSD is defined as:

‘a disorder that may develop following exposure to an event or series of events of an extremely threatening or horrific nature, most commonly prolonged or repetitive events from which escape is difficult or impossible (e.g. torture, slavery, genocide campaigns, prolonged domestic violence, repeated childhood sexual or physical abuse). All diagnostic requirements for PTSD are met. In addition, Complex PTSD is characterised by severe and persistent 1) problems in affect regulation; 2) beliefs about oneself as diminished, defeated or worthless, accompanied by feelings of shame, guilt or failure related to the traumatic event; and 3) difficulties in sustaining relationships and in feeling close to others. These symptoms cause significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning.’

TANA’s objectives, as a health promotion charity, are to:

  1. Raise awareness of complex trauma
  2. Educate about complex trauma
  3. Advocate for policies incorporating an awareness of complex trauma and its mitigation.

Our main activity is making scientific information accessible to everyone to generate widespread awareness and understanding of the long-term effects of early life stress and adversity causing complex trauma.

It is important that we collectively realise that the adaptations people make to cope with their environment are perfect survival mechanisms. It is important that we collectively realise that experiences, especially during sensitive periods in development, can cause changes in the brain and body that can persist for generations. Our bodies have a way of ‘marking’ our genes to turn on and express themselves, or not, and these markers are activated by our experiences. This is the science of who we are and how we are affected by the environment around us.

This information helps people understand why they react the way they do, especially when under stress. There is nothing ‘wrong’ with adapting to an adverse environment. In a threatening environment, our bodies are equipped to survive, to be attuned and adapted to the environment we find ourselves in.

However, we know from science, that even when circumstances improve our bodies can stay reacting to a threat that is no longer present. We then struggle with the frustration of being reactive and behaving in ways we do not consciously intend. Adaptions to survive become mal adaptations in other contexts.

Knowing this frees us from toxic shame, deepens self-awareness and leads to a more compassionate understanding of self and others. We can then start to forge deeper connections with self and others. This is the real key to a kinder world.

Our focus on trauma awareness came through observing changes in cohorts of young people moving through our education system. It  became clear, through our research, that complex trauma is the root cause of so many of our problems as a human society. Complex trauma is the wounding as a result of impact of the adversity and stresses of modern life; it is the wounding that causes most of our major physical, emotional, mental health issues and social problems.

In understanding the causes, TANA continues to be solution focused. Our passion is sharing information about the science of post-traumatic growth and resilient communities because we believe and know that every person and community is capable of so much more.

Join us in acknowledging complex trauma, its impact, and build capacity to thrive.

TANA supporters advocate for policy decisions that are based on an understanding of this science. Evidence backed data shows us what works to get communities thriving. Let us work to disseminate this information, until it becomes common knowledge and taken for granted that “everybody knows that.”


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