Mental Health, Substance Use, and Trauma

Over the last several years, there has been an increase in the number of survivors accessing Kansas sexual and domestic violence services who have substance use- and mental health-related needs, often connected to the complex trauma they have experienced.

To address the need to improve advocacy responses related to substance use, mental health, and trauma, KCSDV hosted three days of training in May 2019 in Wichita for its member organizations. The trainings were led by subject matter experts Cathy Cave and Gabriella Zapata-Alma of the National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma, and Mental Health.

The first two days of training focused on building advocacy knowledge and skills, and the third day, for directors, focused on the same topics specific to policies, procedures, and practices.

Participants learned mind-body practices, the importance of physical and sensory environments, how to support survivors in recovery, best practices for organizational policies and procedures, and how advocates can better meet the needs of survivors with substance use- and mental health-related needs.

The lack of community resources, particularly in rural Kansas, makes it difficult for survivors to access services for substance use and mental health.

“Given the scarce resources, it is time we shift our thinking around these issues,” said KCSDV’s Director of Advocacy, Education, and Rural Projects Kathy Ray. “Being trauma-informed means we meet all people where they are and help them find physical and emotional safety, including survivors who have these complex needs.”

Over 50 advocates and directors participated in the training in addition to a team of staff from KCSDV.

The Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence (KCSDV)’s mission is to prevent and eliminate sexual and domestic violence. Find more information on KCSDV’s website at

The 24-hour Kansas Crisis Hotline is 888-END-ABUSE (888-363-2287).


Last Updated on Dec 5, 2019