Libby Bingham

That was the main message presented to a packed out trauma awareness forum at Ulverstone on Tuesday, according to Mersey MLC Mike Gaffney.

Mr Gaffney, a supporter of the newly-formed North-West-based grassroots organization Trauma Awareness Network Australia, said the forum welcomed the idea of becoming a trauma-informed community and applying solutions which were proven to be effective in other places.

“There was a very positive feel to the forum, and the feedback was very constructive with people identifying and relating to the information presented,” Mr Gaffney said.

The TANA forum attended by 200-plus delegates included service providers, community groups and representatives from the education, health, and legal professions as well as local, state and federal governments.

“It was also pleasing to see individuals attended the forum who were interested in the issue and willingly participated,” Mr Gaffney said.

Mr Gaffney said TANA’s directors plan to hold further smaller forums where people had the opportunity to speak about their own experiences.

He said the first forum focused on making the North-West Coast trauma aware.

“For those people who could not get tickets and were unable to attend the forum was filmed and a link will be up on the TANA Facebook page as soon as possible,” Mr Gaffney said.

“All the people who attended agreed when the surveys are completed they will be forwarding them to all their networks on the Coast. To try and get as much data back in to inform what strategies and policies can be implemented to address gaps and identify the problems not only within the region but also in different towns.”

Previously, TANA director, Sue Heart, said the big forum turnout showed overwhelming support for becoming a trauma-informed society.

“This is not just talk. We intend to take this work through to implementation of solutions, developed collaboratively. Complex trauma and toxic stress is a social problem, and we need social solutions. This is all of us, including those who do not read newspapers or attend forums,” she said.

“Our first goal, when we got started with this work, was to make the North-West and West Coast region of Tasmania the first trauma-informed region in Australia. This work has begun, and we want it to grow like wildfire because we know how empowering and validating it is for people to understand why we are the way we are and that no one is alone in this…”