© BTS, 11/6/17
Early Childhood Mental Health Symposium
The Attendees Fig. 1 Race/Ethnicity of registered participants
On September 12, 2017, more than 360 people attended the 2% 4%
Early Childhood and Mental Health Symposium organized by 9%
Bridge to Success’ Early Childhood and Education
Workgroup. There is data for 332 people who registered and 23%
for 118 people who completed a post-survey (78 people did
both). Nearly all (97%) people who registered were female. 62%
The majority (62%) identified as White, a quarter (23%) as
Hispanic and 9% as Black. Six percent (6%) identifies with Black Hispanic White Multi Other
multiple races or as Asian. Half (49%) of the attendees were n=312
pre-school teachers, a quarter (24%) early childhood
providers or home daycare providers, 14 % administrators
and 10% behavioral health care providers.
People were asked about the traumatic experiences Fig. 2 Trauma of child the attendee worked with
of the children they work with. Sixty-five percent
(65%) mentions at least four different traumas. 62% 60% 60% 57% 57% 53% 53% 50% 48%
Most attendees (62%) worked with children with 38% 34%
mental or physical health conditions, 60% worked 19% 14%
with children witnessing or experiencing violence at 3%
home and/or having an incarcerated caregiver, 57%
worked with children enduring verbal or emotional n=329 (multiple answers possible)
abuse and/or having separated parents. When only
teachers are included in the analysis, these
Increase in Knowledge
Before the event, 49% (162 out of 332) knew at least 38% of attendees lists teachers as a resource for
three resources for children experiencing trauma; children with trauma, 8% lists parents.
38% did not give any. After the event, these
percentages were 67% and 25%, respectively. Interestingly, while 38% said a teacher would be a good
resource, only 8% mentioned parents.
Forty-three percent (43%) of the attendees increased the number of PTSD symptoms they knew how to
recognize. The average number of symptoms attendees mentioned increased from 15 to 18.
Suitability of the Event
The post-survey shows that the event was catered to the right audience: 85% (n=78) felt the symposium
met their 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 “I loved the focus on trauma and that it
to colleagues and 83% to friends/family.
brings awareness of its impact”
People had easy access to the event (90% agreed). Fig 3. Symposium was suitable © BTS, 11/6/17
Attendees were satisfied with the speakers too, although 2017
more people considered the first of the two speakers easy 85% 91% 90%
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, Symposium met Very/somewhat Recommend Recommend
and the fact that there were so many (important) people in symposium to
the room. Having the Department of Education and the my expectations relevant to my symposium to family/friends
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.
“Not enough time to cover the topics” Indeed, the symposium served as a kickoff event to a larger
movement of making Waterbury (more) trauma-informed.
Getting the Conversation Started
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 Fig. 4 Support starting the conversation
about their vision for the
trauma-informed I immediately talked about it with friends/family 67%
movement. Most hoped for I feel more comfortable talking about trauma 69%
an increase in the
knowledge of trauma and I am better at identifying trauma and linking it to behavior 78%
I will implement things I learned in my work 87%
PTSD. This increase could
be broadening the number n=78
of people receiving information (e.g., bring the same information to parents, teachers at higher grades,
department of justice) or deepening the information shared (e.g., learn more about specific traumas, tactics,
treatments, strategies). Others thought about bigger ways of bringing the information to a wider audience;
utilizing media, holding parent symposia, or “I would like to see this movement brought to a bigger
changing the student curriculum. level and talked about with more than just the mayor”
BTS is currently working with partners to design a model where all teachers and the whole community can
be trained on trauma and PTSD. The model includes preventative after-school programs, mental health
support for students and staff, addressing families’ basic needs, and strengthening ties between school,
students, and families. BTS builds on partnerships with WPS, local behavioral health providers and many
“The public needs to see and know the effects of trauma additional partners to bring this vision to
and stress on children and the body so we may be better Waterbury. As such, BTS and Waterbury
informed and make the necessary changes for our partners help children and their families to
children and ourselves!!” succeed in education, work, and life.