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Maine Trauma-Informed Video 2011 ECCO Award Finalist

“Together we can build a bridge” Encourages
Strength-based Family Voice

LEWISTON and AUGUSTA– THRIVE, Maine’s trauma-informed System of Care Initiative, and G.E.A.R. Parent Network are pleased to announce that Together we can build a bridge  (“Bridge”) is a finalist in the 2011 Excellence in Community Communications and Outreach recognition program sponsored by the Substance and Mental Health Services Administration’s Caring for Every Child’s Mental Health Campaign. Bridge is one of three finalists in the Professional Outreach category. Final results will be announced July 21 in Chicago.

The public service announcement by mothers and their children from Dixfield, Lewiston and East Livermore urges child-serving providers to be “trauma informed” and “strength based.” From personal experience, the women also let families of children with significant behavioral health issues know they are not alone, that help is available, and “When you use your voice, you have a choice.”

“Our hometown bridges depict how isolated we felt when we first started out with a provider,” says Rebecca Williamson.“Families want help, but may not know how to get it or how to ask for what they need,” she says.

At the end of the video, the families stand together symbolizing the strength they’ve found in peer support and their readiness to use their own strength-based voice with providers.

“We want to bridge the abyss between us and them,” explains Joy Hodgsdon, “and meet providers halfway. We want them to listen to us and not judge us, to learn from us instead of trying to fix us. That way, our meetings can support an interchange of experiences and be cultural learning opportunities with the shared goal of getting our child’s needs met.”

Bridge has had 1000 views on You Tube, and been broadcast by 40 Community Access TV stations to over 3 million homes  in 70 Maine communities; 13 other states, South Africa and New Zealand. It has been presented by members of Family Advisory Councils for Empowerment Statewide to hundreds of providers and service agencies at the state and local level throughout Maine, as well as to members of the national Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health.

THRIVE trauma-informed trainings and technical assistance help child-serving providers and community
organizations transform the way services are delivered to children and youth with serious behavioral health
challenges and to their families.

G.E.A.R. Parent Network empowers parents of children with emotional and behavioral health needs to effect
life decisions based on their family’s individual strengths and needs by providing safe and supportive avenues
for: emotional support, problem solving, sharing common experiences, seeking knowledge about community
resources and advocacy, identifying the strengths and needs of their child(ren) and families and accessing
information and education related to children’s issues.

Category: Press Releases