SIU Children’s resource network addresses trauma survival, recovery
To aid recovery from traumatic events, Ginger Meyer, who helps child abuse victims as clinical director of an Southern Illinois University (SIU) medical school program, recently hosted a mental health conference at John A. Logan College in Carterville.
Meyer’s organization, the Children’s Medical and Mental Health Resource Network (CMMHRN), works to identify and treat abused children in Southern Illinois. The June 21 conference acknowledged progress made by approximately 200 youngsters participating in trauma-focused therapy work in the region.
CMMHRN is supported by the SIU School of Medicine and the Poshard Foundation for Abused Children. The latter’s co-founder Jo Poshard stated that prior to Meyer’s network only 11 nationally certified specialists were available statewide. Now, 19 care teams with 65 practitioners trained in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) have been established in the region.
Meyer said she hopes to create a trauma center at the national level with a focus on training and therapy education for providers. Additionally, her group is currently developing a database to improve access to resources for parents seeking help for their youngsters.
"For children and teens, these resources can’t come soon enough,” Meyer said. “The medical care and therapy the network provides is one of the first steps to healing.”
Conference participant Amy Escott confirmed that trauma-focused therapists are now not only more common in Southern Illinois, but are also benefiting the population.
“Over the last 18 months, over 200 children have been impacted by our training,” Escott said. “My biggest hope is that people realize that kids can and do get better after they have experienced something traumatic (sexual abuse) … to lead happy, healthy lives.”