Dr. Florence Saint-Jean launched Global Trauma Research Inc. (GTR) in Brooklyn last Friday. The organization’s goal is to increase access to culturally-competent trauma counseling services to underserved minority populations.
“Many people around the world are suffering from traumatic experiences and don’t even know it,” Saint-Jean said.
Saint-Jean’s vision is to break through the invisible boundaries of mental health with underrepresented groups and developing countries. Under her leadership, trauma trainings are conducted in Haiti and Pakistan; with services now being offered in Brooklyn.
“In order to rehabilitate from psychological and emotional trauma, you must face and resolve the unbearable feelings and memories long avoided,” she said. “Otherwise they will return again and again, unbidden and uncontrollable. To heal, it is important to not isolate; stay grounded; and take care of your health.”
There is a growing awareness about the importance of good mental health for the economic well-being of the nation. Recent research shows that minorities’ mental health needs are largely unmet, and underrepresented in mental health studies.
“Mental illness carries a negative,” Saint-Jean said. It makes those who “suffer internally to be fearful of seeking help.”
GTR recently signed a partnership with the Haitian American Community Coalition to form a trauma center. They are currently taking referrals at 123 Linden Blvd. located in Brooklyn.