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How it Works

When a young person between the ages of 8 and 35 comes into the hospital with a gunshot wound, stab wound, or assault, Healing Hurt People (HHP) is there to provide help.

HHP addresses the physical, emotional, and social needs of young people after they are released from the hospital and helps them to resume their lives in the communities where they were injured.

The ultimate goal of the program is to break the cycle of trauma and violence that can trap these youth, particularly young men of color, and hinder their progress. On average, participants and their families are engaged in the program for 6 to 12 months.

To meet these goals, HHP’s model includes four main program components:

Assertive Outreach

As soon as possible after the injury, an HHP Outreach Specialist contacts the young person or their caretaker to offer services, verify the individual has a safe place to go, and provide education about common reactions to trauma.

A Peer Engagement Specialist with shared life experience meets violently injured individuals at bedside in the hospital whenever possible.

This approach allows HHP to intervene after the violent event, offering vital services, and most importantly instilling hope and belief that healing from traumatic wounds is possible.

Peer Support

The HHP team includes Community Health Worker Peers (CHWPs), young adults with lived experience of violence, who are cross trained as Community Health Workers and Certified Peer Specialists. Such services consist of sharing lived experience as a model for healing, support around systems navigation and connection to natural supports, as well as enhancement of skills learned in counseling sessions with the Community Intervention Specialist.

CHWPs use their own life experience as a tool to support participants in their healing.

In the aftermath of a violent injury, CHWPs also engage participants’ family and friends, who are often deeply impacted by the harm caused to their loved one. By supporting friends and family members to express desire for justice or revenge in non-violent ways, CHWPs prevent retaliation and break cycles of violence.

Evidence-Based Trauma Counseling & Promising Practices

Participants in HHP receive high quality trauma counseling from Community Intervention Specialists (CIS) who are Licensed Masters’ Level Therapists.

For youth ages 8-18 and their caregivers, Healing Hurt People offers Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), which meets the highest standard among evidence-based child trauma therapies. HHP’s innovative approach integrates TF-CBT with peer support and trauma-informed case management.

For adults ages 19-35, HHP offers trauma counseling that combines several modalities, including motivational interviewing, CBT, mindfulness, relational strategies and other techniques. This approach helps our participants who are often distrustful of systems of care, to understand how counseling can help them heal. The counseling aims to reduce trauma symptoms, as well as to increase coping skills, safety, and a sense of future. Participants are linked with long term sources of support and behavioral health care as needed.

HHP's SELF (Safety, Emotions, Loss & Future) groups enable trauma survivors to re-establish safety, deal with difficult emotions, process their losses, and generate a vision for the future. SELF groups emerged out of the Sanctuary Model of trauma-informed care. Our Center has developed a culturally relevant version of SELF which has been dubbed Community of Young People Healing, Experiencing, Rebuilding (CYPHER) which will be offered to HHP participants.

HHP is evaluating a variety of trauma-focused evidenced based practices that can meet the needs of our adult participants while being culturally relevant.

Trauma Informed Case Management

Community Health Worker Peers (CHWPs) and Community Intervention Specialists (CISs) provide trauma-informed supportive case management using therapeutic techniques such a SELF (Safety, Emotions, Loss & Future), Cognitive Behavioral strategies, and Motivational Interviewing. These techniques help to engage participants in behavioral change while also attempting to meet their basic needs.

Through this process, HHP staff build trust and rapport with participants, which allows them to role model effective communication and follow-through, share information on trauma and healing, and help participants to understand and complete complex processes to obtain needed services and benefits.

Supportive case management generally focuses on educational support, housing, legal and court, doctors and medical, afterschool, substance use, employment/training, and other levels of mental health care, as needed and willing.