Mental Health Connection launches program to help recognize and deal with trauma

Mental Health

The Mental Health Connection of Tarrant County is launching a campaign designed to increase awareness about trauma, toxic stress and adversity and examine the benefits of building community resilience.

Recognize & Rise is a multi-year community awareness initiative supported by the broad coalition of more than 100 local mental health agencies, education and health systems, government, and individuals working to address the mental health and substance use needs of the community.

“This is a natural extension of the work that Mental Health Connection has been doing for the past two decades to create a healthier, more trauma-informed and trauma-resilient community,” said Bennie Medlin, Mental Health Connection board chair and director of Tarrant County Juvenile Services.

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“By building awareness and understanding, Recognize & Rise will help us develop a stronger foundation of support for all who have experienced the impact of trauma in their lives,” Medlin said.

The campaign will help residents identify trauma and its impact, better identify trauma-informed practices and resources, and demonstrate that all play a role in individual and community healing.
According to the National, 70 percent of adults – more than 223 million people – in the U.S. have experienced some type of traumatic event at least once in their lives.
Traumatic events can range from not feeling safe from physical or sexual assault or abuse, a natural disaster, a devastating accident, the death of a loved one, divorce, miscarriage or serious illness.

Prolonged and ongoing stressors, such as the loss of a job, financial struggles, or a serious or incurable illness, may evoke trauma. Childhood trauma – such as violence, abuse or neglect – can also have a lasting impact into adulthood.
Everyone responds differently, but trauma can lead to chronic pain, depression, drug and alcohol abuse, learning or sleep difficulties and other troubling concerns.
When a large segment of the community is suffering from trauma, the public health impact can be staggering.

Recognize & Rise offers the message that “trauma affects us all” and all play a role in recognizing the impact it has on the day-to-day lives, reactions, relationships, and health of those who survive devastating experiences.
The campaign will highlight the resources and expertise of organizations throughout Tarrant County that are working to address this important issue and ways in which individuals can play a role and support healing.

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The campaign is funded through a commitment by The Morris Foundation and other donors and guided by the expertise of Mental Health Connection members. The initiative is also backed by county, city and business leaders and is part of an overall vision of making Tarrant County a more trauma-informed and trauma-sensitive community.

Recognize & Rise will feature a website, blog, and Facebook page as well as media relations, marketing and advertising efforts. The campaign will showcase the innovative work being done by local organizations and leverage Mental Health Connection member agencies as subject matter experts on a variety of trauma related topics.

“With resilience-based support and resources, we can prevail when we face adversity and tragedy,” said Virginia Hoft, executive director of the Mental Health Connection. “Our goal is to increase awareness about trauma and resilience and provide hope that healing is possible to those who are struggling.  Our message is that you are not alone, and that together we can thrive, not just survive.”

For more information, go to
The Mental Health Connection of Tarrant County was formed in 2000 after a deadly shooting at Wedgewood Baptist Church in Fort Worth. It is a coalition of community partners made up of mental health providers, hospitals, schools, juvenile and criminal justice systems, nonprofits and other organizations across Tarrant County.
– FWBP Staff