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Trauma is a very scary event or situation like a major accident, crime, natural disaster, or armed conflict. Trauma affects people who experience the situation first-hand as well as witnesses, family members, first responders, and people who treat trauma.

“It Helped me Forget”

A young mother’s journey through loss—and finding hope

Farren Whitford

Reprinted from "Opioids" issue of Visions Journal, 2018, 13 (3), p. 23

Growing up, I lived with my mom until I was about 12 and then I moved in with my grandma (me and my stepdad just didn’t get along). I lived with Grandma for about a year. She was an awesome lady. Then I got taken away by MCFD [Ministry of Children and Family Development, child protection services].


When we talk about mental illnesses and substance use problems, it’s easy to talk in clinical terms: that person has this symptom, or that person uses a certain drug. But recovery is so much bigger than a checklist.


Trauma is any event or situation that is frightening or scary. Violence and accidents are two examples of trauma. Trauma can have a huge impact on wellness. People who experience trauma may use substance to help cope with very difficult feelings, and substance use can increase the risk of trauma.

Complex Interactions

Counsellors who work with survivors of violence are aware that many of their clients have issues of addiction and mental health. The relationship of trauma to addiction and mental health is complex and, to date, inadequately researched.

Police Victim Services

Police Victim Services of British Columbia is a non-profit association that enhances services to victims of crime and trauma by assisting and supporting frontline, police-based victim services programs. Our members include victim services program managers, staff and volunteers who work within police agencies or detachments throughout BC.

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