Interview With Dr Sandra Bloom On The Unfolding Paradigm Shift In Mental Health Toward “Trauma Informed Care”

Dr Sandra Bloom is an American mental health activist, psychiatrist, and associate professor of health management and policy at Drexel University. She is the creator of the “Sanctuary Model” of therapeutic care which is now a prevalent approach to mental health in the USA, Australia, and around the world.

“A traumatic experience impacts the entire person – the way we think, the way we learn, the way we remember things, the way we feel about ourselves, the way we feel about other people, and the way we make sense of the world…”

The Sanctuary Model is an approach to mental health care which promotes safety and recovery from adversity through the active creation of a trauma-informed community. A recognition that trauma is pervasive in the experience of human beings forms the basis for the Sanctuary Model’s focus not only on the people who seek treatment, but equally on the people and systems who provide that treatment.

ImportantCool Associate Karun Cowper spoke to Dr Bloom about the unfolding paradigm shift in our understanding and treatment of mental health toward “trauma informed care” as embodied in models such as the Sanctuary Model and also about the importance of political activism to challenge powerful interests that create trauma in the first place.

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As a counsellor and educator, Karun, from Perth, Australia, concentrated on mental health and suicide prevention, challenging orthodox biodeterminist approaches to care and wellness. Cowper coordinated social media for Occupy Perth, edited political zines, and got into journalism with Perth Indymedia on RTRFM, Western Australia’s most popular alternative radio station, reporting, producing, and hosting. Karun has covered the aboriginal suicide epidemic with a focus on the macropicture of issues of social justice, poverty among indigenous communities, and their general chastisement. He’s also covered the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, the Australian government’s complicity in the genocidal activity of the Indonesian government in West Papua New Guinea, and produced and conducted interviews with Anthony Loewenstein, Scott Ludlam, Richard Dennis, Julian Assange, Ken Colbung, (a highly revered indigenous community elder and healer who led an expedition to retrieve the head of one of his ancestors that had been kept in the United Kingdom) and other prominent figures.

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