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Corrymeela and Starling Collective Leads the Way in Trauma Informed Support

In a landmark initiative set to redefine the landscape of trauma in Northern Ireland, peace and reconciliation charity Corrymeela, in partnership with the Starling Collective, asylum seeking and refugee led Belfast based charity, has announced a transformative three-day series of events.


Starting on April 10, the series of collective transforming trauma events are being run in partnership with psychiatrist Dr James S. Gordon and the Center for Mind Body Medicine.


Transforming trauma: A Community Approach to Healing will see three free events taking place at Stormont Parliament Buildings (April 10), The MAC (April 11) and Queen’s University (April 12). 


Corrymeela in partnership with Starling Collective have been leading on a ground-breaking collective trauma support project, supported by Community Foundation NI through the Department of Health Mental Health Fund to deliver trauma informed approaches to practice training to over 160 professionals, practitioners and volunteers. Together with a consortium of partners, ANAKA Collective, Belfast Massage Project, Counselling All Nations, L.O.R.A.G, Place to Wonder, and The Hummingbird Project, we have actively supported the health and wellbeing of over 2000 people within asylum and refugee communities in the midst of trauma, and adversity.


Denise Bradley, Manager Marginalisation Corrymeela said: “Northern Ireland is a society emerging from over thirty years of conflict and continues to struggle with a high levels of trauma.


“And, as we welcome people seeking asylum and refuge from conflict zones around the world, NI remains the only part of the United Kingdom and Ireland not to have an inclusive refugee strategy: the strategy still remains unpublished. This is having a deep impact on people having any meaningful purpose and participation within NI society. Intertwined with an arduous and often hostile immigration system, we are bearing witness to the compounding of existing traumatic experiences. Research highlights that post arrival is when people’s psychological wellbeing is at most risk of decline. The workforce supporting the community are also exhausted, experiencing chronic stress and burnout, trying to manage their own history and personal experiences of trauma.’’


The Trauma project has been evaluated to be educational impactful and healing for people within the asylum and refugee community and for the workforce delivering services, evidencing the continued need for transforming trauma models that heal population wide. 


During this period Corrymeela developed key trauma informed cross border partnerships, including advance training and peer support for Corrymeela and key partners through Center for Mind Body Medicine (CMBM). The accessible education, and cross-cultural resources and practices have been invaluable. There is no pill or medication that can replace human connection.


“As the funded project comes to its conclusion, the vision for a sustained effort to heal collective wounds across divided communities gains momentum.”


The three events, which will feature Harvard-educated psychiatrist, and a pioneer of mind-body medicine and integrative medicine Clinical Professor, Dr James S. Gordon who is also the founder and CEO of The Center for Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM). 


On April 11 there will be comprehensive workshops at The MAC Theatre, Belfast focusing on practical mind body skills to reduce chronic and traumatic stress. This event will provide attendees with an education and practical skills model designed to co-create long term wellbeing at various levels.


The series then concludes with an event on April 12 at Queen's University Belfast, aimed at an afternoon of exploration and discussion to disseminate the project findings and how an international model is applying scientific and evidence-based trauma informed model of healing throughout different conflict zones worldwide.


Clinical Professor, Dr James S. Gordon said he and the team are looking forward to he has wanted to come to Northern Ireland for a long time and is incredibly excited to meet everyone.


The Center for Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM) has, for over 30 years, developed and implemented what may be one of the world's largest and most effective programs for healing from psychological trauma. 


Working in the Balkans, the Middle East, and Africa, with groups in armed conflict with each other, CMBM has helped both parties to deal with the trauma they have experienced as well as to enhance their understanding of each other. 


For more information on the Transforming trauma: A Community Approach to Healing events from April 10-12 go to https://bit.ly/43yhzwq 


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