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Trauma care conference aims to help lessen the impact of record violence and the pandemic

After two years of record violence in Columbus and upheaval in the pandemic, public safety and health officials will meet at a Trauma Care Conference to discuss ways of reducing the effects of trauma.

“Trauma is hard. It affects us,” said Anthony King, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral health at Ohio State University. “It affects us also differently. And it affects us not just on the day it happens. The symptoms can last for weeks, months and years.”

King said those attending the conference hosted by the Columbus Department of Public Safety will learn how to recognize trauma and what they can do to lessen its influence.

“The effects on the nervous system, in particular, can leave somebody in a state of almost continuous hyperarousal,” he said. “Sort of being on guard at all times, which really interferes with social functioning, interferes with family functioning, and of course occupational functioning.”

Children can also experience negative effects living in an environment with frequent traumatic events, King said, because their brains are still developing.

“Test scores among kids who were in a community near a homicide within that community dropped by two standard deviations,” he said. “Not people who were in the family of the person deceased, the entire community.”

Finding ways to soothe children and get connected to stable and loving relationships is most important in healing, King said.

Survivors of trauma will share their experiences at the conference and how they managed to pull through.

The free conference will be held Saturday at The Church of Christ of the Apostolic Faith on Brentnell Avenue from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Registration is required.

Debbie Holmes has worked at WOSU News since 2009. She has hosted All Things Considered, since May 2021. Prior to that she was the host of Morning Edition and a reporter.