Welcome to the Consortium on Trauma, Illness, and Grief (TIG) website. Specific to K-12 Education, TIG originated in Monroe County, NY as project between Coordinated Care Services, Inc., the Monroe County Office of Mental Health, and a small number of local school districts with the goal of increasing school personnel’s ability to support students and staff at times of individual or widespread crisis. Since its inception in 2001, the Consortium has grown steadily through its dedication to preparing school staff and districts to understand, intervene and support students when needs arise related to trauma, violence, illness and death. TIG provides centralized training to participating districts that is evidence based/best practice oriented, to increase staff’s ability to meet the holistic needs of their students and enhances a district’s ability to respond to crisis. TIG’s Core Curriculum creates the backbone of regional, self-sustaining Back-Up Support Networks. These networks provide seamless support and evidence-based crisis response skills in times of biggest need. As TIG continues to grow, it will remain focused on its commitment to helping Districts minimize risk for crisis while preparing to respond effectively, and recover should a critical incident occur. We hope this website supports you in this important and essential work.
Samantha S. Colson, MSW Amy H. Scheel-Jones, MSEd
TIG Program Coordinator Senior Consultant
Monroe County Office of Mental Health Coordinated Care Services, Inc.
To maintain and grow a community and school-based consortium of culturally sensitive and clinically appropriate training, support, and resource services to assist schools in responding to the emotional needs of children, teachers, and other school personnel, which arise from trauma, violence, illness, grief and loss.
The goal of TIG is to prepare school districts to have appropriate support in place when they must respond to events involving trauma, violence, illness and death. During times of a district- or school-wide crisis, school districts can deploy responders from both within and outside of the school in a coordinated and systematic manner thus maximizing their response. The shared training experience and Back-Up Support Networks form ongoing collaborations and provide assurance that in the event of a district-wide emergency, a school district can be confident that TIG teams helping from other districts share a philosophy of crisis response and are trained in an evidence-based model of crisis intervention and assistance.
School personnel are considered the front-line interventionists for the students within their schools. A district TIG team may consist of a variety of roles and perspectives. Size may vary dependent on the district size and culture. The opportunities provided by the TIG Consortium are meant to enhance existing crisis response teams through the intensive training and support around the content of trauma, illness, grief and loss responses and interventions. This training has the dual benefit of increasing staff confidence and efficacy, while also providing increased liability protection.
The TIG Consortium prepares school staff to meet the holistic needs of students as well as individual, group, and/or community response. This expertise can then be drawn upon to provide professional development on key topics within their own districts as well as increase their own personal efficacy. TIG trained staff can also serve as linkages between school personnel seeking assistance and the other resources of the Consortium. TIG Teams have access to:
- The TIG seven-module Core Curriculum and supplemental resources.
- Ongoing consultation with a regionally-based TIG Program Coordinators to facilitate implementation of TIG
- The TIG website (tigconsortium.org) containing materials on various relevant topics which can be downloaded for students, staff, and families. In addition, team members have access to additional resources through TIG training materials.
- Ongoing communication through the Consortium listservs to share articles, training opportunities, relevant research and other resources to support professional development.
- Increased crisis response capacity and efficacy through their regional Back-Up Support Network
Children are affected more than we might assume by major and minor losses. Traumatic events and serious illnesses or deaths of family members and friends as well as members of their school family can have a profound impact on these young lives. Even tragic community events, not directly experienced by a child, can leave an indelible mark.
Educators are increasingly called upon to help students cope with incidences such as fatal automobile accidents, homicide, suicide, sexual assault, and mass shootings. These are only the “headline events.” More quietly, in classrooms across the nation, teachers and other school personnel are trying to help their students cope with the daily, unpublicized tragedies that affect our students’ readiness to learn such as poverty, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), other forms of toxic stress, the serious illness or death of a classmate, parent or other family member, teacher, pet or, perhaps, the serious illness of students themselves.
Somewhere between math and reading, young people often turn to trusted teachers for support and help to understand sad events in their lives. School is a primary resource for children and adolescents offering continuity, safety, information, and support for their growth and success. To some, it is truly their second family. School personnel, especially teachers, are often a front-line resource for children experiencing trauma, illness, death and loss — both at times of immediate crisis and in subsequent years, as children continue to adapt and mature.
We know that after events related to trauma and loss, the ensuing emotional reactions of children can have a significant impact on their learning and classroom behavior, as well as on their relationships and interactions with classmates, teachers and often the larger school community. Even normal reactions, such as grieving after a death, can become problematic if not understood and responded to with cultural sensitivity and developmental appropriateness. We also know that adjustment following major trauma and loss is an ongoing process that requires support over a period of several years, as the student’s developmental needs evolve, anniversary dates occur, and new loss events cause trauma and grief reactions to resurface or even trigger the re-experiencing of the initial trauma itself.
In preparing to address these issues in school settings, commitment is needed from the community to assist schools with this task. The TIG framework fosters a collaborative approach between participating districts and existing clinical, medical, and community-based resources. A school-based crisis team, supported by the community, can be prepared not only to respond to an acute emergency, but also can increase colleagues’ knowledge and skills through collaboration or internal professional development opportunities. Such a team can prepare their school buildings in advance of critical incidents, and offer sustained after-crisis care. This holistic approach offers participating districts an effective way to deliver supportive and preventive services, thereby alleviating disruption of the school environment and enhancing the coping, emotional health and learning abilities of children and adolescents.