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NHS Education for Scotland

A skilled and sustainable workforce for a healthier Scotland

New substance use resource for Trauma Informed Practice

New substance use resource for Trauma Informed Practice

New substance use resource for Trauma Informed Practice

The National Trauma Training Programme (NTTP) and NES Psychological Interventions and Therapies for Adult Mental Health Team are delighted to announce the launch of a brand-new e-learning module, “Understanding the use of substances to cope with the impact of trauma”.

The resource forms part of the “Developing Your Trauma-Skilled Practice” series.

It is suitable for anyone working with people who may be affected by trauma and/or substance use.

The e-learning module was developed in collaboration with colleagues with lived experience of recovery from the Scottish Recovery Consortium. It helps learners to understand:

  • the relationship between traumatic experiences and substance use,
  • the self-medication hypothesis,
  • the impact of stigma, and
  • to learn helpful ways of supporting recovery

It also includes an optional reflective journal with prompts for learners to consider how the content relates to their own unique contexts and practice.

A SRC spokesperson said:

"We worked with NES and hosted focus groups with people with lived experience of trauma to support the development of NES e-learning module. Inclusion and participation of people with lived experience is vitally important to ensure that authentic experiences of recovery are included in education about trauma and resilience. We welcome this new and innovative resource.”

Dr Sandra Ferguson, Associate Director for Psychology, NES and Lead for the National Trauma Training Programme, said:

“As Scotland grapples with challenges such as the high rates of alcohol and drug related deaths, the evidence of the role that experiences of trauma have in increasing the risk of and maintaining substance use problems, continues to build.
“This ‘trauma lens’ offers opportunities to intervene differently, using trauma informed practice principles but also reduces shame and stigma that many people with problem substance use experience and that create barriers to recovery. This vital educational resource provides the workforce across Scotland the knowledge to build their trauma skilled practice in supporting people to access the services and communities integral to their recovery.”

Alcohol & Drug-Use and Trauma-Informed Practice: A Companion Document

The Improvement Service, in partnership with COSLA, the Scottish Government and NHS Education for Scotland, has published a companion document to support all professionals working with people and their families affected by alcohol and drug use to strengthen awareness and understanding about trauma-informed practice.

The document provides context, key messages and practice-focused reflective questions to support professionals to work in a trauma-informed way, that recognises the prevalence and impact of trauma for many people affected by alcohol and drug use.

It aims to strengthen understanding of how taking a trauma-informed approach can support improved outcomes for people and their families affected by alcohol and drug use and can support staff wellbeing and safety.

This document has been produced in collaboration with partner organisations/ networks including Lead Psychologists in Addiction Services Scotland (LPASS), the Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Implementation Programme, local multi-agency Alcohol & Drugs Partnerships and Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol & Drugs.

August, 30 2022