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Keith: Local trauma specialist spreading knowledge statewide

 

NORMAN — Jeremy Elledge thinks he can change Oklahoma.

From where he sits, that’s a tall order.

Elledge works in mental health services in a state that's top in the nation for childhood trauma. Oklahoma leads in female incarceration and heart disease mortality, and has high rates of child abuse and divorce, lending to the cycles of trauma that impact the state’s youngest residents, the Tulsa World reports.

 But Elledge wants to stop that cycle. For the last two years, he’s been traveling the state training Oklahomans to understand, unpack and more ethically treat childhood trauma.

Next month, Elledge and his organization, New View, will offer the latest in his series of trauma-informed trainings.

From 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Feb. 7 at Cameron University in Lawton, Elledge and other New View employees will educate Oklahomans on trauma and all its implications. Subsequent spring trainings will be in Ada, Durant and Norman.

Elledge, a Norman-based senior therapist and supervisor with Central Oklahoma Community Mental Health Center's Children & Family Services, has more than 15 years of experience in mental health and trauma treatment experience. Two years ago, he started New View, an organization that provides trauma-informed therapy services and mental health professional licensing guidance.

The organization also allows Elledge to take his trauma knowledge across the state. In the last two years, he’s traveled to nearly two dozen cities to train Oklahomans — whether medical personnel, educators or parents — about trauma. Elledge and New View partner with other organizations, including the Evolution Foundation and the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, to offer the educational sessions.

“We just want to get the word out there about what trauma is and its implications for children,” said Robert Lee, a former supervisor of Elledge’s who now works with New View and the Evolution Foundation. “Those of us who are not in school now really don’t understand the stress that children are under in schools. Chronic stress and trauma kind of track each other in terms of the response in our developing brains.”

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