Skip navigation Resource Center to Promote Acceptance, Dignity and Social Inclusion About Us |  FAQs |  Contact Us 
ADS Center bridge over water logo

Toll-Free: 1-800-540-0320

Training Teleconferences
Information Update
Campaigns & Programs
Take Action
Campaign for Social Inclusion
Mental Health Facts
My Story
In The News
Join our Listserv
Link to Us
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Department of Health and Human Services
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

Last Updated: 9/4/2014

SAMHSA’s Resource Center to Promote Acceptance,
Dignity and Social Inclusion Associated with
Mental Health (ADS Center)


Social Inclusion and Trauma Informed Care

To access the archived presentation please select one or several of the options below.

Training Summary

Social Inclusion is a comprehensive approach to address multiple issues that people with mental health problems experience as individuals and as a group.  Social inclusion is a positive goal for people with mental illnesses and it is achieved when positive outcomes from a good quality education, an adequate income, accessible and affordable health services, social and political participation, living in a safe community, good quality housing and a stable family are achieved simultaneously

Experiences of trauma affect mental health and social inclusion.  For an individual living with mental illness, trauma can take on many meanings. However, the effects of trauma may be substantial, impacting one’s physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, and economic well-being.1 For individuals to heal from traumatic experiences they need effective tools to guide their recovery, enabling them to feel respected, informed, connected, and hopeful.2

Working collaboratively with trauma survivors helps to promote healing and recovery from these experiences. Trauma-informed organizations, programs, and services are based on an understanding of the vulnerabilities or triggers of trauma survivors that traditional service delivery approaches may exacerbate, so that these services and programs can be more supportive and avoid re-traumatization.2


1 Moses, D.J., Huntington, N., and D’Ambrosio, B. (2004). Developing Integrated Services for Women with Co-occurring Disorders and Trauma Histories. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration. Last accessed July 17, 2009, [PDF 365 Kb].  

2 Trauma-Informed Care, Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration. Last accessed July 17, 2009, .

This training will:

  • Provide an overview of trauma and its importance as a social determinant for mental health and social inclusion.

  • Provide information on trauma informed care and effective strategies to educate the public on trauma informed care.

  • Share a consumer perspective trauma and its relationship to mental health and social inclusion, and on the importance of trauma informed care.


Helga Luest
President and Chief Executive Officer
Witness Justice

Helga Luest (M.A.) is a recognized expert in the field of trauma, including trauma-informed care, the healing process, navigating the criminal justice process for victims and victim rights. She is a national keynote presenter and trainer, with a background in public relations and communications. As President/Chief Executive Officer of Witness Justice ( ), Ms. Luest leads advocacy, program development, and contract initiatives, including subcontracts to provide communication and outreach activities for numerous federal technical assistance contracts. In her career, Ms. Luest has received many awards for exceptional social marketing campaigns including two Telly Awards® for television public service campaigns, and International Association of Business Communicators Award for best campaign, and a 2009 Silver Addy® Award for conference materials. Ms. Luest is also a survivor of a random attempted murder that took place in Miami, FL in 1993, and her personal experience drives her passion for this work and informs her approaches in advocacy, education, and programs.

Rhonda Elsey-Jones
Educator, Advocate, Trauma/Mental Wellness Trainer and Specialist,
Holistic Practitioner

Rhonda Elsey-Jones is currently the program manager for Baltimore Rising Inc.’s Mentoring Children of Incarcerated Parents, a program providing mentors for children whose parents and/or close family members are incarcerated. A survivor of childhood trauma, Ms. Elsey-Jones overcame substance abuse and as such is familiar with the justice system.  For nearly 20 years she worked with individuals in the recovery process, offering assistance to people with issues related to substance abuse, trauma, mental health and incarceration.  In 2001 Ms. Elsey-Jones offered her services to the development of Tamar’s Children, a pilot program for pregnant women who were incarcerated. Her personal interest and lived experiences led her to a workshop on the development of the Tamar’s Children Project, ultimately working as their case manager and assistant director while pursuing undergraduate, graduate and a doctoral degree.  Ms. Elsey-Jones is a strong advocate for trauma survivors, individuals with mental health diagnoses, those who have been addicted, and people involved with the justice system and youth .  She speaks throughout the nation on a variety of trauma-related topics.  Ms. Elsey-Jones is an active board member for the National Women’s Prison Project (NWPP).  She recently served as Consumer Co-lead with Helga Luest, developing a Situational Analysis and Marketing Plan for CMHS’s National Trauma Campaign.

Joan B. Gillece, Ph.D.
Project Director
National Coordinating Center for the Seclusion and Restraint Reduction Initiative

Joan B. Gillece, Ph.D. is the Project Director for the National Coordinating Center for the Seclusion and Restraint Reduction Initiative. She is also the  Project Director and principle trainer and consultant to CMHS National Center for Trauma Informed Care. Prior to coming to the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, Dr. Gillece was the Director of Special Needs Populations for Maryland’s Mental Hygiene Administration. She was responsible for developing and sustaining services for Maryland citizens who have serious mental illnesses and may also be incarcerated in local detention centers, homeless, suffering from a co-occurring substance use disorder, or be deaf. She has been successful in obtaining private, state, local, and federal funding to create a patchwork of services for Special Needs Populations. Dr. Gillece obtained funding to develop a program for pregnant, incarcerated women and their newborns. This program, called Tamar’s Children, was designed to break the intergenerational cycle of despair, poverty, addiction, and criminality. She has spoken extensively on developing model systems of care through partnerships across agencies. Dr. Gillece has provided consultation to numerous states on developing innovative institutional and community based systems of care for individuals involved in the justice system through the GAINS Center and the National Institute of Corrections. She has National experience in working with diverse service agencies on developing systems of care that are trauma informed.


Adobe PDF™ and MS Office™ formatted files require software viewer programs to properly read them. Click here to download these FREE programs now.

This Web site was developed under contract with the Office of Consumer Affairs in SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services. The views, opinions, and content provided on this Web site do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of SAMHSA or HHS. The resources listed in this Web site are not all-inclusive and inclusion on this Web site does not constitute an endorsement by SAMHSA or HHS.