This special episode is part of our Mental Horizons podcast series responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and how it is impacting the world and, more specifically, the mental health field. Stephanie spoke with Katie Mansfield about trauma resilience in the face of immense stress during the COVID-19 pandemic. They discussed how to recognize trauma and the strategies one can cultivate to cope with adversity.

Katie is lead trainer for the Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR) program within Eastern Mennonite University’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding.

Katie is a PHD candidate at the European Graduate School where she is studying Expressive Arts and Conflict Transformation. She also holds an MA from the University of Notre Dame where she studied International Peace Studies and a BA from Harvard University where she studied History.

Before becoming the lead trainer at STAR, Katie spent many years working internationally in peacebuilding as well several years before that in multinational banking in New York and London. She has completed teacher trainings in yoga, healing dance, and Integrative Energetic Medicine.

LISTEN BELOW or on iTunes, Stitcher, or SoundCloud.

Katie talks with us about how mental health program leaders and parents and caregivers can recover and be resilient in the face of the immense stress and strain of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This specific group of people are not only having their own personal experience of the pandemic, but are immediately responsible for the wellbeing of others – be it a child or adult with a significant mental health issue or a residential community of clients and patients under their care.

Main talking points

  • Katie introduces us to the STAR program and how it began after 9/11
  • Katie talks to us about how people experience and react to trauma differently
  • We discuss strategies to use if you want to build your capacity for coping with extreme stress and adversity
  • And lastly, Katie highlights that there is opportunity within conflict and once the acute crisis of COVID-19 passes, there are reasons why people should not just rush back to “normal” life.

Trauma Resources Mentioned During The Episode

STAR Handouts

For more STAR resources, visit their website.

Summer Peacebuilding Institute.

CJP educates a global community of peacebuilders through the integration of practice, theory and research.

The Little Book of Trauma Healing by Carolyn Yoder– An overview of individual and collective trauma, common responses to trauma, and how to break the cycles of unhealed, unaddressed trauma. For everyone who works with trauma, whether the everyday variety, or with those affected by terrorism, tsunamis, current conflicts or historical wounds.

Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice

The Zehr Institute advocates for restorative justice as a social movement, and is also a convener of spaces where knowledge about restorative justice practices and programs can be shared among practitioners and learners, by facilitating conversations and cultivating connections through activities such as conferences, webinars and both in-person and online courses.

Nadine Burke Harris

Nadine Burke Harris’ healthcare practice focuses on a little-understood, yet very common factor in childhood that can profoundly impact adult-onset disease: trauma.

Bessel van der Kolk

​Bessel van der Kolk MD has spent his career studying how children and adults adapt to traumatic experiences, and has translated emerging findings from neuroscience and attachment research to develop and study a range of potentially effective treatments for traumatic stress in children and adults.

Minnesota Peacebuilding and Leadership Institute

STAR-Lite Training: Learning Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience in a Single Day.

Peacebuilder Podcast

Adrienne Marie Brown

Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds: Inspired by Octavia Butler’s explorations of our human relationship to change, Emergent Strategy is radical self-help, society-help, and planet-help designed to shape the futures we want to live. Change is constant. The world is in a continual state of flux. It is a stream of ever-mutating, emergent patterns. Rather than steel ourselves against such change, this book invites us to feel, map, assess, and learn from the swirling patterns around us in order to better understand and influence them as they happen. This is a resolutely materialist “spirituality” based equally on science and science fiction, a visionary incantation to transform that which ultimately transforms us.

Pema Chödrön

Beloved Buddhist teacher, author, nun and mother, Pema Chodron has inspired millions of people from around the world who have been touched by her example and message of practicing peace in these turbulent times. The Pema Chodron Foundation is dedicated to preserving and sharing Pema’s inspiration and teachings in order that they might help us all awaken wisdom and compassion in ourselves and the world around u