‘Shifting Focus’ participants (clockwise from top left): Rickie, Richard, Jason, Patrick, Giuseppe, Robert.

“How do you move forward after being released from prison?

Called Trauma at the Root, the participatory project is a collaboration between UBC’s Collaborating Centre for Prison Health and Education (CCPHE) and John Howard Society of Canada that is exploring new ways to foster resilience among men who have been incarcerated.

‘Research shows that incarcerated men often have some form of trauma in their backgrounds,’ said Dr. Chris Richardson, principal investigator on the project. ‘Incarceration itself is also emerging as a recognized form of trauma, with impacts on physical and mental health–especially with respect to how men learn to manage stress. Add in the stigma that can be associated with incarceration and a feeling that, as a man, one can’t ask for help—these are difficult things for anyone to overcome.’

The Trauma at the Root project is exploring the idea that increasing awareness of trauma and its effects can help men develop skills to manage traumatic stress and promote improved self-care. The project is fostering resilience in men by engaging them in strengths-based activities that connect them with peers and allow them to discover their own interests and abilities.”

“Photos help you actually focus on some of the things you have to change around you. You tend to look for things that are positive in the city, in a world that’s pretty well negative.”

To learn more about the Shifting Focus and Trauma at the Root projects, contact Kate Roth and Chris Richardson at the CCPHE (ccphe@spph.ubc.ca).

To learn more about community-based research related to the Downtown Eastside, contact Heather Holroyd at the UBC Learning Exchange (heather.holroyd@ubc.ca).

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