Mariam Cheema

Mariam is an Assistant Psychologist with Recovery Orientated Alcohol and Drugs Service, Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust. She graduated with a first class honours in Psychology from University West of England and is currently studying for a MSc in Children’s Psychological Disorders at Cardiff University. Current areas of interest include the impact of trauma and addiction.

Trauma informed spaces in substance use treatment services

There is a high rate of trauma exposure in individuals who use alcohol and other drugs. Thus, it is important for substance use treatment services to be delivered in a way that fosters positive development such as by avoiding triggering trauma memories or causing unintentional re-traumatisation. There is a need for research to evaluate whether treatment service’s physical spaces are aligned with trauma informed principles. This project aims to evaluate the current service’s spaces in relation to the principles of trauma informed practice; Safety, Trust, Empowerment, Choice and Collaboration (Fallot & Harris, 2006).
Mixed-methods questionnaires were given to service users and carers who were asked to fill out the questionnaire during their visit to the service building. Staff were asked to fill out the questionnaire online.
Kingsdown Fort is located in Bristol and is the office and clinical base for Bristol Specialist Drug and Alcohol Service (BSDAS).
Service users, carers and staff including psychiatrists, nurses, psychologists and care coordinators.
Questionnaires were devised to gather feedback from service users, carers and staff. For service users and carers, the questionnaire focused only on the reception and clinical areas. Staff were also asked about office space and communal areas to recognise the potential of vicarious traumatisation. Items on the questionnaire consisted of statements and were measured using a 7-point Likert scale. Qualitative data was also collected by asking open-ended questions.
Findings and conclusions
Data collection will take place over one month and the data will be statistically analysed.