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K-State Today

October 20, 2021

'Becoming Trauma Responsive' a College of Education documentary

Submitted by Sarah Harper

Title picture from "Becoming Trauma-Responsive" trailer.

The Kansas State University College of Education announces its new documentary, "Becoming Trauma Responsive." Premiering this fall at 1:10 p.m. Oct. 28 in Forum Hall, this documentary explores the effects of trauma on learning, behavior and developing relationships.

Throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools across the country were strained to meet the social and emotional needs of students. School lockdowns, remote learning and isolation were just a few of the challenges that almost all students experienced. Most schools found large increases in depression and general anxiety reported by students and educators throughout the 2020-2021 school year.

For individuals already affected by trauma, the stress and constant change during the pandemic were even stronger. As one interviewee stated, "Never has there been a time where trauma-informed care was needed more. All of us need it."

Jessica Lane, a College of Education assistant professor in special education, counseling and student affairs agrees.

"Teachers and school counselors are often the first and most direct form of resources for students," Lane said. "Therefore, we must equip educators for the needs of those they serve. This documentary focuses on the growing need for, and necessary response to, trauma within our schools and communities. Above all, it moves the conversation forward on how we must be trauma responsive to meet the needs of students at every level. I am thrilled to be part of such an impactful and timely contribution to the field of education."

The college wanted to share the documentary with as many people as possible because of the importance of trauma-informed care. The film documents the experiences of three different schools, preschool through high school, in Kansas and Missouri during the pandemic to see how each adapted and changed to meet the needs of their students. Also interviewed were trauma experts who have spent decades in the field of therapy, brain science and counseling to learn how to teach kids resiliency and inspire hope despite hardships and traumatic events in their lives.

"Through this documentary, we wanted to help educators identify the signs of trauma and provide resources for them to become their students' advocates," said Debbie Mercer, dean of the College of Education. "The effects that trauma has on young children are critical to recognize and every educator should be aware of indicators and know how to help those children and their caregivers find hope."

The college's goal in making this documentary is to help educators face the challenges of teaching children and youth that have been affected by trauma and general anxiety. The documentary discusses the importance of self-regulation, how to teach it to students, and how your own self-regulation directly impacts your students. The documentary also looks at what the stress response system is like in people who have grown up in high-stress environments and how you can help create an environment that helps students deal with stress and develop positive changes.

Please join the college on Oct. 28 to become trauma responsive. Watch the trailer on YouTube

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