Texas School Shooting: Screening in the Aftermath

We were planning to release a version of this E-Alert next week as a guide to triaging Threat Assessment cases for the remainder of this academic year but the tragedies in Buffalo, New York and Texas have accelerated it. As many of you are aware, we released an E-Alert a little over six months ago highlighting the 500% increase in VTRA cases, during the Fall of this academic year, compared to VTRA cases in the Fall of 2019 (prior to the pandemic). With professional resources being strained and some communities no longer supporting school [...]

Increase in VTRA Cases Across the Country

In earlier communications from NACTATR we highlighted that due to the lingering effects of quarantine (“Impaired Closeness-Distance Cycle”), some students would be so relieved to make in-person reconnections with school staff and peers that symptom development to the pressures of the pandemic would be minimal in the 2020-2021 academic year. This period is what we refer to as a “delayed response”. For the current academic year (2021-2022) however, it was evident that whether the pandemic was in a fourth wave or it was deemed [...]

How to Become an Indigenous Ally

The Two Row Wampum Treaty, also known as Guswenta or Kaswentha, may best be understood as a Haudenosaunee term embodying the ongoing negotiation of their relationship to European colonizers and their descendants. The underlying concept of kaswentha emphasizes the distinct identity of the two peoples and a mutual engagement to coexist in peace without interference in the affairs of the other. The Two Row Belt, as it is commonly known, depicts the kaswentha relationship in visual form via a long beaded belt of white [...]

Hate Crimes and Racism: VTRA and TES Applications to the Tragedies in London and Kamloops

Quarantine had a temporary and artificially positive effect on larger Canadian Society: it created distance between those who hate and their potential targets. We would say that some societal conflicts were frozen in place but with things opening up and the weather becoming warmer, that distance has been replaced with proximity and the possibilities to renew prior conflicts and intensify justification for violent acting out. [...]

Rekindled Trauma: Former Kamloops Residential School

On Friday May 28th the truth was revealed regarding the buried bodies of over two hundred children. My colleagues and I penned a brief E-Alert on that day through our roles with the B.C. Government ERASE Initiative. It was sent to many professionals in that province who, like us, were in awe of this reality. This E-Alert is for the entire country and every Indigenous Nation and People as well as all those who wish to help. It is more personal than any other communication I [...]

Interim Guidelines: A Whole Community Response to Post-Pandemic Mental Health

While the pandemic still weighs heavy on the shoulders of many, the growing availability of vaccines has led to measured optimism from some that COVID-19 will come to an end. Governments, workplaces, helping agencies and educational systems are beginning to deliberate and hopefully pose this crucial question: What will post-pandemic functioning look like? It is well established that human beings and human systems (families, workplaces, communities, etc.) [...]

A Year Later: The Effects of Quarantine on Post-Pandemic Mental Health

Throughout the past year, much of society has relied on the expertise of health professionals to manage the spread of the COVID-19 virus and all of its’ variants. Mental Health professionals have likewise been relied upon to manage the growing strain of chronic stress and its’ variants on individuals, families, workplaces, and communities. Part of this stress has been due to both prolonged and intermittent quarantining. However, there are two sides to the “effects of the [...]

Anniversary Reaction to COVID-19: What Every Professional Needs to Know

The first case of COVID-19 diagnosed in Canada was on January 25th, 2020. One year later media headlines on January 25th, 2021 emphasized it has been a whole year since that occasion as if it was a moment of awe. But the country was probably in more of a state of denial than awe in early 2020. In our work in trauma response we heed the phrase that ‘trauma is stored in the body at the cellular level’ which means that the conscious brain can try to deny [...]

Canadian VTRA Trained Professionals: Implications from Unrest in America

As the predictable escalation in Washintolgton, D.C. is currently playing out we want to remind VTRA trained professionals and teams that this American experience that we are observing is also an international experience for which we are also subject to. Rather than being on the defensive and hoping that we do not see these risks increase in Canada, it is clearly indicated that VTRA teams consider any “Person of Concern” who has in the past identified with the aggressors [...]

Second Wave: Matching Resources to Risk During Remote Learning

The first wave was new to us all and some figured out how to accommodate it but with the second wave, those we are concerned about know how difficult it was and feel they cannot survive a lengthy quarantine again. The best intervention that schools can provide is to be thoughtful and creative about how to stay connected to our students and their families while educating remotely. [...]

Trauma-Informed Approach to Assessing the Creation, Organization and Utility of School Resource (Liaison) Officer Programs

These guidelines were developed to assist school boards, school district/division leaders, and police leaders in collaboration with the broader school community (students, parents and caregivers), as well as community leaders, to plan for a trauma-informed assessment of School Resource Officer (SRO) Programs. In particular, they were created to openly address the traumatic impact of systemic [...]

Police in Schools: Laying the Foundation for a Trauma-Informed Assessment of School Resource Officer (SRO) Programs

A worldwide pandemic combined with the videos of the recorded deaths of George Floyd and other African Americans in the United States and the death of Chantel Moore during a safety check in Canada, has resulted in a powerful and sustained social movement on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border. Movements demanding changes at the governmental and institutional levels to address [...]

EXTENDED CRITICAL PERIOD Racism, Prejudice and A Worldwide Pandemic

Since the pandemic reached the shores of North America we have released several E-Alerts that have combined our understanding of how high-profile trauma influences human systems including how it increases violence potential. In the field of Violence Threat Risk Assessment (VTRA™) we have always said that “no one can engage in a major act of violence unless they feel justified: everyone needs to move on a pathway of justification first.” What has not been [...]

Family Dynamics During the Pandemic: Series One: The Closeness-Distance Cycle

The most intense Family Dynamic during the COVID-19 quarantine is the Closeness-Distance Cycle. It is naturally occurring but, when intensified, can contribute to profound symptom development. It is a primary risk enhancer in some of our more vulnerable families. The following overview provides the theory and practice dynamics with pandemic-specific interventions. It is primarily for professionals but many parents and caregivers can gain insights from it as well. [...]

Nova Scotia Mass Shooting and COVID-19 (VTRA and TES Applications)

We have consistently reminded professionals about the broad use of our Community VTRA™ Protocols for all forms of violence and for all Persons of Concern (POC) whether child or adult. This means that government agencies from mental health, social services, probation and parole as well as police, fire, hospitals, schools and other workplaces need to be attentive to any evidence someone may be moving on a pathway to serious violence. They also [...]

Community VTRA™ Protocols: An Essential Part of the COVID-19 Response

High-profile trauma intensifies already existing symptoms in individuals and systems (families, workplaces, communities, etc.). Many individuals whose pre-COVID functioning was already distressed or who already exhibited violence potential or suicidal ideation will experience increased shifts in their baseline behaviour as the quarantine extends. Even in the best of family circumstances, too much time together with the ones we love will naturally result in an [...]

Rising to the Challenge: Staying Connected with All of Our Students

Matching Resources to Risk: Guidelines for Administrators in Support of Teachers and School Personnel for Multi-Platform Connection During a Pandemic
This NACTATR resource has been developed for education departments, school district leaders and school administrators to support teachers, social workers, psychologists, counsellors, and other school staff responsible for educational support during the [...]

COVID-19: Moving Forward with a Caring Approach

This is the first of a SERIES of NACTATR™ Communications that will be released as circumstance warrants. As indicated in the work of VTRA™, “The better the data, the better the assessment and the better the assessment, the better the intervention”. As professionals from multiple disciplines across the country, and beyond, are sharing our expertise, we are also learning that the current COVID-19 crisis has some uniqueness specific to our generation especially around [...]

Hamilton Tragedy: National Implications

To all VTRA Trained Professionals
In the aftermath of the tragic death of Hamilton, Ontario youth Devan Bracci-Selvey, many school districts across the country have noted a growing concern from parents and caregivers about bullying. In the 10th Edition of the Community VTRA Protocol we added three new categories for action: [...]

Extended Critical Period - New Zealand

The context for this ALERT is the realization that societal anxiety is so high that we must guard against professionals and community members who may become traumatically closed and underreact to blatant pre-incident signs and indicators. This ALERT is a wake-up call.
We are in an “Extended Critical Period” and schools (educational institutions), workplaces and society in general need to be applying their Community VTRA Protocols even more diligently. The extended critical period is not only because of the violence in New Zealand [...]

Humboldt, Saskatchewan Broncos Tragedy

HIGH PROFILE TRAUMA On April 6th, 2018 at least 15 lives were lost and many others were injured in a tragic collision involving the well-beloved Humboldt Broncos. All were part of the Humboldt family and the local response to the tragedy is unfathomable at this time. Several players on the team are from outside Saskatchewan including Alberta and Manitoba making this a Western Canadian traumatic event. However, with hockey being so dear to the hearts of Canadians and other tragedies with similarities from the past, we are already [...]

13 Reasons Why Season 2

We are receiving numerous calls and emails with questions and concerns regarding the May 18, 2018 release of the second season of the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why”. For this season, the producers are attempting to take a more socially responsible approach by providing content warnings ahead of each episode. The series does highlight the consequences of youth who are bystanders to such incidents and do not report them to an adult, and attempts to address a myriad of other topics such as rape, sexual abuse, bullying, substance use [...]