GREAT FALLS – NoMore Violence Week continued in Great Falls on Wednesday with a seminar about secondary trauma.
“Over the last decade, awareness about secondary trauma has grown, which is a good thing,” said University of Montana School of Social Work professor and chair Jim Caringi.
He spoke with those in the community who work with individuals who experience trauma.
“There’s a reason why you feel depressed. There’s a reason why you are avoiding people. It’s a helpful thing to learn about,” Caringi said.
Caringi explains that secondary trauma is someone who feels the effects or symptoms of another person’s tragedy.
“Trauma itself is common. Secondary trauma is common but people know don’t what it is,” Caringi said.
Caringi says when people can find that underlying reasoning for being depressed, it can help with coping.
“I think people sometimes have a sense of relief. I can say that when I worked in Alaska as a social worker before becoming a professor, I experienced it,” Caringi said.
“When I learned what it was, I felt relief. I know what this is and there’s something I can do about it,” he added.
Caringi says over the last decade, he feels that awareness about secondary trauma has grown.
He says his hope is that events such as NoMore Violence Week help spark the conversation for secondary trauma.
“I just think that this is a wonderful event happening in Great Falls. I’m super impressed with it. I think it is so important to learn about the impact of trauma both in a primary and secondary way,” Caringi said.
“These are things that we really want to become common knowledge. For example, if you ask any smokers if smoking is bad for you, yeah they are going to know that.”
“We need people to say the same things about child abuse and neglect when we talk about those things,” he concluded.
-Elizabeth Transue reporting for MTN News