BRIDGE TO SUCCESS
100 N. ELM ST.
WATERBURY, CT 06702
(203) 754 0040
Early Childhood Mental Health Symposium
On September 12, 2017, more than 360 people attended BTS’ Early Race/Ethnicity of registered participants
Childhood and Mental Health Symposium. Data were collected at
registration (n= 332) and through a post-survey (n=118); 78 people 2% 4% Black
completed both. Nearly all (97%) attendees were female. The majority 9% Hispanic
(62%) identified as White, a quarter (23%) as Hispanic and 9% as Black. 23% White
Half (49%) of the attendees were pre-school teachers, a quarter (24%) Multi
early childhood providers or home childcare providers, 14 % 62% Other
administrators and 10% behavioral health care providers.
Participants reported on the traumatic experiences of the children they
work with. Most attendees (84%) mentions working with at least one n=312
child with at least one trauma; 65% worked with children experiencing
at least four different traumas. Most attendees (62%) worked with children with mental or physical health
conditions, 60% worked with children witnessing or experiencing violence at home and/or having an incarcerated
caregiver, 57% worked with children enduring verbal or emotional abuse and/or having separated parents. When
only teachers were included in the analysis, these percentages increased.
Trauma of child the attendee worked with
62% 60% 60% 57% 57% 53% 53% 50% 48%
Before the event, 49% knew at least three resources for Symposium was suitable for me 83%
cn=h3il2d9r(emnuletipxlpeearnisewnecrisnpgostsribaleu)ma; 38% did not give any. After 85% 91% 90%
the event, these percentages were 67% and 25%,
respectively. Interestingly, while 38% said a teacher would Symposium met Very/somewhat Recommend Recommend
be a good resource, only 8% mentioned parents. symposium to
my expectations relevant to my symposium to family/friends
Forty-three percent (43%) of attendees increased the
number of PTSD symptoms they knew how to recognize. work colleagues
The average number of symptoms attendees mentioned
increased from 15 to 18. The post-survey shows that the
event was catered to the right audience: 85% felt the
symposium met their expectations and 75% of increased their opinion on how suitable it was to their work (rest
stayed the same).
The post-survey shows that the event was catered to the right
audience: 85% (n=78) felt the
symposium met their “Not enough time to cover the topics”
expectations and 75% of
increased their opinion on how suitable it was to their work (rest
stayed the same). Ninety percent (90%) would recommend the event to colleagues and 83% to friends/family.
People had easy access to the event (90% agreed). Attendees were satisfied with the speakers too, although more
people considered the first of the two speakers easy to follow (92% vs. 74%). Three-quarters of the attendees (75%)
agreed the speakers complemented each other.
People commented they were happy with the information they received. Positive comments also referred to
resources that were shared, the awareness to the subject, and the fact that there were so many (important) people
in the room. Having the Department of Education and the Mayor there made a big impression on the attendees.
When asked for areas of improvement, people discussed the lack of space, their personal discomfort (“too hot,” “too
cold”), and the fact that the subject was simply too big to tackle in such a short amount of time. Indeed, the
symposium served as a kickoff event to a larger movement of making Waterbury (more) trauma-informed.
Support starting the conversation 67%
I immediately talked about it with friends/family 78%
I feel more comfortable talking about trauma 87%
I am better at identifying trauma and linking it to behavior
I will implement things I learned in my work
To two-thirds (67%) of the symposium’s participants, the topic was so powerful that they talked about it
immediately with family/friends following the event. Bringing the attention to the subject of trauma, PTSD, and how
it impacts (young) children helped the participants, and 69% felt more comfortable talking about it after the event.
More than three quarters (78%) felt better at identifying trauma, and 87% indicated that they would implement
some of their learnings into their work.
Participants were asked about their vision for a trauma-informed “I would like to see this movement brought to
Waterbury. Most hoped for an increase in the knowledge of trauma a bigger level and talked about with more
and PTSD. This increase could broaden the number of people than just the Mayor”
receiving information (e.g., bring the same information to parents,
teachers at higher grades, department of justice) or deepen the
information shared. Others thought about bigger ways of bringing the information to a wider audience; utilizing
media, holding parent symposia, or changing the student curriculum.
“The public needs to see and know the BTS is currently working with partners to design a model where all
effects of trauma and stress on teachers and the whole community can be trained on trauma and
children and the body so we may be PTSD. The model includes preventative after-school programs,
better informed and make the mental health support for students and staff, addressing families’
necessary changes for our children basic needs, and strengthening ties between school, students, and
and ourselves!!” families.
CREATED NOVEMBER, 2017 © 2019