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Spotlight Report - Living with Complex Trauma - August 2021

This Spotlight Report was commissioned by the National Mental Health Commission in recognition that there is a significant need to build awareness and understanding of the often chronic and largely unmet needs of people living with the long-term impacts of complex trauma.

This report reviews the current research and practice into complex trauma and experiences of people with a lived experience of complex trauma – how they have engaged with the system and how the systems have responded to their needs. It highlights the chasm between needs and the system’s capacity to meet them, to support healing and recovery, minimise experiences of re-traumatisation and to be heard, respected and supported to live meaningful participating connected lives.

The public health issue of complex trauma has long been ignored. It is time for the knowledge from lived experience, practice and research to inform services and practice in order to reduce the mental distress and sense of hopelessness and helplessness so many people diagnosed with mental illness, with unrecognised complex trauma can experience. We hope that this report will provide the impetus and insight which drives the investment, training and systems change needed for every person who has been abused, violated, neglected or exploited during their lives to find a sense of safety, hope, healing and wellbeing.