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IMPACT to raise awareness, garner support at Higher Ground… The Trauma Epidemic

Milwaukee, WI – Trauma is associated with a deeply disturbing experience that changes the way you look at the world and affects the way you function in life. Higher Ground... The Trauma Epidemic is set for August 8 from 5:30 to 7:30pm at the Wisconsin Club downtown to raise awareness of IMPACT’s role in helping people whose lives are complicated by trauma.

Higher Ground... The Trauma Epidemic will feature Meg Kissinger, former investigative reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and former visiting professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Kissinger is writing a book about her family’s struggles with mental illness, including the suicides of her brother and sister. Her investigative reporting earned her a Pulitzer Prize nomination.

Molly Fay, host of The Morning Blend on TODAY’s TMJ4 will serve as Emcee. Fay’s personal story of tragedy and triumph will also be featured during the event.

Emotional and physical trauma is not new. What is new is how people are acknowledging it. As society increases in its understanding about the prevalence of trauma, as well as the degree to which it permeates other aspects of a person’s life, even decades later, we create a safer environment for those who have suffered in solitude to acknowledge its impact.

According to John Hyatt, IMPACT President & CEO, "Trauma can interfere with your ability to function in life as a student, parent, spouse, or employee. It can prevent you from accessing the parts of your brain responsible for problem-solving. It can overwhelm you to the extent that you are unable to interact with others, concentrate on basic tasks, make decisions, process fear, or feel safe in any environment.”

A common reaction to trauma is to engage in risky, self-destructive behaviors such as substance use. Of the nearly 1,000 clients IMPACT screened in 2017 to determine eligibility for substance abuse treatment vouchers, 45 percent reported a history of trauma.

Hyatt added, “Not everyone with a substance abuse issue who contacts us for help has a history of trauma. Not everyone facing a personal crisis who calls 2-1-1 has unresolved trauma interfering with their ability to be productive. But many do. It is critical that we factor it into our assessment, recommendations and referrals. But first, we provide an experience where we relate to the client in a way that is different than what they expect. We establish trust. We remove judgment. We accept that missteps and detours are a part of the journey, and assure them that they don’t have to navigate it alone.”

Higher Ground... The Trauma Epidemic is sponsored by US Bank, Bader Philanthropies, Aurora Health Care, and PNC Bank.