LifeBridge Commits to Addressing Urban and Racial Trauma Through designation as an Outpatient Urban Trauma Center
LifeBridge Community Services, a Bridgeport-based non-profit organization, has been designated as one of eight Outpatient Urban Trauma Centers in Connecticut. The designation, funded through the State of Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF), will allow LifeBridge’s behavioral health clinicians to receive specialized training on racial trauma and the unique stressors of youths of color to implement best practices to support their mental health and to ensure that youths within Bridgeport and across Connecticut receive the best care possible; tailored specifically to their needs.
“Our youth services are designed to improve well-being and mental health; therefore, it is a natural progression for LifeBridge to expand our efforts to include education and awareness of the effects of urban and racial trauma on youth of color, who represent 100% of youth served in our afterschool and summer program, and 89% of youth served through our behavioral health services identify as Black, Indigenous, Latinx and People of Color (BILPOC). We believe this initiative is important and have prioritized as an organization,” said Edith Boyle, President & CEO.
Urban trauma is not a label or condition but is instead a framework to identify, reclaim and heal from structural racism. An essential aspect of advancing racial equity and racial healing is learning about, and addressing, the psychological effects of racism.
Bridgeport children face great challenges – whether living in poverty, attending schools that underperform, facing multiple traumas, or living in fragile home situations. According to recent data, one in three children in Bridgeport lives in poverty, and 60% of children (20,000) experienced some form of trauma, crime, or abuse in the prior year. Connecticut's African American and Latino children and youth have been disproportionately affected by the continued increase in urban violence and the impact of structural, institutional, and personal racism intersecting with the devastating economic, and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The resilience of children and youth has been greatly diminished during the pandemic resulting in many needing emergency mental health interventions in various settings.
“LifeBridge has served the greater Bridgeport community for decades providing essential outpatient behavioral health and youth development services. I am pleased they are joining the network of providers committed to enhancing supports for underserved populations who have been exposed to racial, urban, and other related traumas,” explained DCF Commissioner Vannessa Dorantes. "With the stressors experienced by today's youth and families, we are fortunate to have strong partners such as LifeBridge and we look forward to our collaborative work."
The designated Outpatient Urban Trauma Centers will become part of the Urban Trauma Network (UTN) and will receive coaching, training, support, technical assistance and fidelity monitoring from the Urban Trauma-Performance Improvement Center or UT-PIC.